Monday, December 22, 2003

In Germany

As you can tell from the lack of entries, I'm not net-connected for the time being, and just discovered so much spam on this blog. Not happy...

It's cold here, but not snowing, and probably unlikely to snow any time soon, so it looks like I won't get a white xmas. However, I have got to look at some castles (most were closed as it's December), and do other sight-seeing stuff. We have also booked to see the English (original) version of ROTK. It was suprisingly difficult to find sessions in Bremen/Hamburg that were not dubbed! We'll see it next Tuesday though.

Work stuff is under control, and it looks like we'll get a tiny class (so far only 25 or so students... it's a far cry from the 250 I taught last semester).

Anyhow... seeing as there are timed local calls here, I'd better make this short.... Am glad it's not a hot xmas here! (Am also enjoying the Weinachtsmarkts :>)

Sunday, December 7, 2003


Things are getting rather last minute. I still haven't got the courseware finished, haven't started packing or cleaning, haven't set up the hose to water the plants and haven't even spent the prescribed two days in bed. Which means I'm panicking, my ankle and back are playing up, my pain threshold is negative, and I'm still very sick in the ears/throat/sinus area.

Oh well... an apt xmas quiz before I leave, even the reasons are accurate....

<>You are 'Adam Lay Y Bounden'! Ah, you appear to be something of a Christmas snob. Whether you are a musician who has sung one carol service too many, or merely someone with very highbrow views on music and culture, you shudder at the thought of piped music in lifts, wince at endless repetitions of Jingle Bells and have put out a contract on Rudolph. While you agree that some of the well-known carols are lovely, you are more drawn by the really obscure medieval carols, or the ones arranged by Bach. You also know parodies of several carols - a legacy of excessive carolling, or perhaps just the product of an enquiring and slighly cynical mind... Try to enjoy Christmas, anyway.

What Christmas Carol are you? brought to you by QuizillaAdam lay y bounden

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Funny answer

I wouldn't normally post such a 'normal' quiz, except the result for me was amusing, and accurate.

I have a huge variety of tea in this house: jasmine, green, earl grey, lady grey, russian caravan, irish breakfast, english breakfast, chai (T2), botanica (T2), morning tea (T2), liquorice and peppermint (T2), beautea (T2), strawberry & cream (T2), liptons, madura, darjeeling, blackcurrant, peppermint, cammomile, red raspberry, cranberry raspberry & strawberry, traditional afternoon, rooibos chai, raspberry & peach, bushland, fruit tea, and a couple of german warming teas.

My current favourites are morning tea (T2), lady grey and earl grey.

I hardly drink coffee at all these days, partly as it is hard to find a coffee-soy milk combination that doesn't curdle, and the larger amounts of caffeine in coke, coffee and V causes stomach cramps, which in turn upset the adeno :-\ I have 3 different types of coffee despite this, but my brother is wearing that down quite quickly.

You're not Coffee, you're Tea. You're not Coffee, you're Tea! What Kind of Coffee are You? brought to you by Quizilla

Birthday goodness

Bernie spoilt me this year, first giving me Puff the purple dragon (photo forthcoming), then the Two Towers extended collectors edition (though, now that I've seen it I owe him a backrub), and a new faster computer well before my actual birthday. We watched the extended edition last night, and I loved it. I'll need to watch it again soon ;> (but I probably won't get more time before we go away - perhaps I should take it with me).

The Amazon order arrived containing the next three histories of middle earth (in large format paperback), and I splurged a bit in the city on a new necklace, belly dance chain, Settlers card game expansion and some other things.

The last thing left is my family thing on Saturday for both birthday and christmas, which I am completely dreading. Bernie's work end-of-year party is on Sunday, to which clients have been invited and a demo planned. I thought social functions were meant to not include working? It is dinner on a Yarra cruise which should be quite nice (providing they have some non-dairy alternatives).

All my shopping for the trip has been done (apart from a coat, which I'll get from Germany). With all these really warm clothes I'll definitely be set for next Winter in Melbourne!

Monday, November 24, 2003

Bad throat

Looks like the ever present sinusitis has turned into a bad throat infection, right before I go away. I can hardly swallow, my sinuses are completely stuffed, I can't think at all, and my stomach refuses to settle. Not to mention I can hardly balance and walk due to ears being blocked and legs that are killing me. However, Dave and Kamala's wedding was beautiful and we had a great time, found some gorgeous spots in the botanic gardens. I'll make available photos later this week before we go to Germany, and put up some other photos while I'm at it, if I find the time.

I still have to write a paper which with this head blockage is impossible. And revise the courseware for summer semester. I must not forget to enroll tomorrow for 2004. Too busy and too ill to get through it.

Updated November 26th
Well, the doc looked at my throat, and said I must spend one day in bed. Then looked at my ears and changed that to at least two days. It's not going to happen till next week, and then it's probably too late. Ahhh well, I'm on strong (and kidney upsetting :-\) antibiotics to try to clear my ears up before I get on the plane, apparently fluid filled ears would be incredibly painful.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Quizzy goodness

This is sooooo wrong on many levels...

You are DORY! What Finding Nemo Character are You? - brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The Water of Life - Caiseal Mor

Caiseal Mor - The Water of Life

This was the third in the Celtic Wanderers series, and unfortunately did not live up to the extremely high standard set by the first two. Although this book was enjoyable, it did not seem to flow as easily or have any certain direction, perhaps because it was wrapping up a section of history. The characters did not seem to have as much depth, but hinted at much more depth and much more story to be covered in further books.

Quest Crosstime, by Andre Norton

Andre Norton - Quest Crosstime

This read very much like a late sixties, early seventies mystery-adventure novel, except in a sci-fi setting. Definitely a change of genre for me, but quite enjoyable with some unexpected twists. I'd like to read more set in this system, but as far as I know, this story stands alone.


There are times where pain gets to be that bad, that I just can't force myself to breathe. Yet I still have to work, study, shop, clean, go on with living. Unfortunately I am so busy at the moment preparing to go overseas for a month (no plans on what to do there yet, we haven't had time to look at anything), trying to get courseware and honours work done before I leave, sort out more house problems, find some formal stuff to wear, find some warm clothes for travelling, etc etc etc. All while I'm in huge amounts of pain.

I have just received an extension on the two assignments that there was no hope in completing. I am seriously considering dropping honours at this stage, as I can not see me having the time or health to do the project justice, I still have two papers and two large assignments, the project yet to code, experiments to do and thesis to complete, and it feels interminable and completely unachievable. There is a little less pressure now that the two assignments can be handed in at my own pace when I return from Germany. Maybe I'll keep plodding, I can probabl defer another semester, although I really shouldn't.

Supervisor meeting and cross-checking Malaysia exams today, examiners meeting tomorrow, and I have no idea when I'll be able to talk, think, stand, travel for those, let alone find enough non-pain time to get formal clothes for the wedding on the weekend. Or get family xmas shopping done (it's on the 29th November this year, combined with my birthday. Really looking forward to that :-\) Or get shopping and planning for Germany done. Or get study and CSE1303s coursework completed.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Need air

Make sure you have a very good ventilation system (and a lot of spare time) if treating a piano for borer. It's quite a difficult, time-consuming and fumey job. I found borer holes in nearly every wooden surface, including some of the keys and even the loose block of wood I use to make reaching the pedals easier.

The process is quite simple. You need to pull the piano apart and put it on a drop sheet. Grab some non-staining kerosene oil and add the appropriate amount of borer oil. Make sure you are wearing rubber gloves throughout the whole process. Then inject the holes with the solution using a syringe (I'd advise against asking a chemist for one when you sport a vivid bruise on your arm from a blood test). Once all the holes have been flooded (including the ones you must get upside for), paint every accessible wooden surface with the mixture. Note that the keys are extremely porous and will absorb a lot. Try not to pass out from the fumes, it's a good idea to have eaten so you aren't more wobbly. Once all is painted, injected and dried, reassemble and remove drop sheet.

Leave loads of windows open for a few days, and repeat whole process in 6 months. Argh!!
Beware - you may dream of borers eating into you for a couple of nights, so be prepared for very broken sleep.

The borer oil is quite damaging to everything - the instructions repeat strongly that it must never come in contact with anything that may reach any waterways - that includes rubbish going to tips, or anything left in the yard. Disposal of implements and extra fluid is by taking everything to the local chemical disposal place. Rather potent stuff, I think, especially the fumes... *cough*

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

I liked the movie possibly mainly because it had beautiful costumes and nodded to so many great classic stories. The effects were mostly good, although I would recommend against seeing it without some form of backlighting if you are susceptible to flashing scenes. Several times I had to put my hands over closed eyes to stop the flashing from causing a migraine or an emptying of my stomach (typically during the 'transformation to/from the beast' scenes).

The characters were well portrayed, especially Mina and Dorian, and I was delighted to see Nemo (with a fanstastic ship - I imagined a small normal size sub), as I hadn't expected him in the story. The music wasn't memorable, but it will be one DVD that I will eventually get for the constumes and props. Not sure if a sequel could live up to the first, but it would be worth seeing.

Side note - I saw this a couple of weeks ago and was speechless at the ROTK trailer.... want... now....

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Farscape miniseries

It looks like Farscape will be continuing in a mini series, independent of the series and the Sci Fi Channel, so far it is only an unconfirmed rumour, but hopefully it will pave the way for a series return (or maybe even a movie).
(Note - there is a splash screen to go past to get to the article).

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Bad heat

Just discovered how badly I deal with heat (without an acclimatisation period). Yesterday and much more so today, it knocked me flat, major nausea, dizziness, brain not working... wow. I'm glad I'm missing a month of summer to spend it somewhere cold. I only hope I find a warm enough jacket.

Other than that, I'm majorly screwed workload wise. I still can't find motivation for honours, and preparing the notes/pracs/schedules etc for summer makes me want to run screaming. I need some serious amounts of clear head space, and at the moment I have no idea when I'm going to get it from :-\ It doesn't help that I'll be bleeding shortly, which completely screws me over pain, concentration and hormone wise (hmm.. there is too much interconnectivity), badly timed with everything happening at the end of the year with one month missing, but necessary before I go away.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Odd ST ship...

What episode/series is this ship in?
I haven't seen it before.... but apparently this is the ship that most suits me... black sheep.. heh.


You are a Steamrunner-class Destroyer, Starfleet's prodigal black sheep. You are unique in your own right. Your unconventional attitude surprises all. Skeptics will find that your alternative methods of dealing with things go above and beyond the norm.

Which Class of Federation Starship are you? brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, November 9, 2003

Faster, newer, quieter...

As hardware normally does around me, the computer I use for anything not requiring Windows or MP3 playing died today. About the time when I should have been finishing my parallel assignment. Which sent the wonderful Bernie off to buy me a yummy early birthday present. So now, I have a quiet, superfast computer. Watch my seti stats soar! Well.. not quite.

To distract myself while the box was being reassembled I started reading, which ended up continuing long after it was working, and thus putting off the assignment for longer. Then when I reached the end of a chapter, I started looking for a cheapish, not overly mass produced incense burner, capable of burning charcoal tablets without combusting, cracking or other unwanted effects. A small cauldron would do, or some kind of brass thingy.. but of all those I found, all are expensive with exhorbitant shipping costs.

Anyhow, enough putting-off, I shall get going on the lazy barber program (my current high fever may make the solution much more interesting).

Thursday, November 6, 2003


Three 14 hour days of marking will leave you exhausted. Having just done this, it's almost a relief to look at a computer screen again (and I can't believe I'm saying that!) I'm very pleased with the results, not anywhere near as bad as I had expected, and only one question requires remarking. I'll do that when I go through and verify all the fails (another job I hate, as it then skews my perception of the results - the lecturers always have to deal much more often with the weak students).

I get the next couple of days at home, hopefully with good weather (although opening all windows usually results in a downpour), so I can get housework, washing and some much needed and overdue honours work completed. All of that in the comfort of non-stuffed-air-conditioned comfort.

I don't know what is wrong with the new building's air conditioning system, but it's really wonky. It's far too hot, quite stuffy, and horrifically loud! It's almost a relief when it turns off in the evening, except that it just keeps getting stuffier and stuffier. Of course there are no openable windows in the building at all. I wouldn't be surprised if that is what is causing my asthma to flare up and my skin to go more horrible than usual (when majorly stressed and working too long with too much sugar).

On a side note, I'm sleeping better, thanks (I think) to the Blackmores Valerian Forte tablets. Although I'm a bit woozier in the mornings, I can usually get around that by taking the B12 and multi B with breakfast instead of lunch.

Now for dealing with strange parallel programming.....

Wednesday, October 29, 2003


Synaesthesia - an impression relating to one sense by the stimulation of another sense.
We have program for music visualisation synaesthesia thanks to Paul, and now I stumbled across an interesting view on how to remember words by letter colour synaesthesia.

I wonder how that could help with teaching? Currently for recursion I distinguish between recursive calls (red) and the base case comparison (yellow), the rest of the program is in grey, perhaps I also need to highlight the convergence expression.... (guess which question was done badly in the recent test for CSE1303).

Vicious cycle

Which come first, too much pain causing me to sleep shockingly, or poor sleep causing too much pain? Not to mention when I sleep badly I have disturbing, violent and sickening dreams, and I don't even read/watch horror or thriller movies. I'm sure the dreams could rival the worst for gore and violence quantity. Maybe I should try sleeping tablets again.


I was shocked when I found out that two exams (written by the same person) were completely multiple choice. There were no questions allowing/requiring a written explanatory answer. The teacher concerned had even laughed about not having to spend much time marking the papers, when explaining the reasoning to the students during the lectures.

This method does not test the knowledge, skills or abilities in a satisfactory and comprehensive way of any of the students, especially as I know the standard of the questions set. All this method tests is how well the students can guess what the lecturer means, and then circle the corresponding answer.

There was a memo that went around recently (the 5 year plan for CSSE if I remember correctly) which stated that more emphasis should be placed on the quality of teaching. Of the past 3 years, this is the worst I have seen from this particular teacher.

To those first and second year students who did the subjects, I'm sorry. Please take this up with your students reps and with the deans of CSSE, there are many staff who don't believe it's acceptable and who have voiced their opinions, but aren't being listened to.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

The last year

It looks like 2004 will be the last year I may be teaching at Monash. At lest that is what I have been warned. Apparently, the powers higher up have decided they don't need assistant lecturers, so those positions will not be offered after next year. This means that the academics will have to take all of the admin load. I just hope the standard of education does not suffer (further). Some of our best teachers are the ALs, especially when compared to some of the very crap academics that are teaching!

So... I need to think about what I want to do after that... whether I want to do a PhD, or go into industry (eek!), or find another uni, here or overseas where they value teaching more.

One step at a time, must finish honours. Maybe this will motivate me more? Unlikely.

Friday, October 24, 2003


A double dose of sinusitis antibiotics is playing havoc with my digestion and sending my pain levels through the roof. I haven't cramped like this in a while, meaning I am constantly very sleepy. My body seems to have a sleep reflex to pain. However, the antibiotics are giving me pretty bad nightmares, or allowing my stress levels to screw up my sleep much easier than normal, so even after sleeping I feel like crap.

I had rung my agent (previous house) on Tuesday evening to complain about the landlord sending people around unannounced. She mentioned that the landlord had wanted to take me to court because my mother had snibbed the lock on the front door before shutting it for the last time. Mum thought she was locking it properly, however, it does mean that you can't get in with a key. The other outside doors are all bolted and locked from the inside, and no door handle keys exist for them. I could have insisted on having those locks changed throughout my tenancy for the reason that there is only one entrance to the house, which can be completely and unlockably locked. I don't know why they wanted to take me to court over it. The landlord had to go and 'break' into the house, effectively taking ownership of it, before the agent had done her final inspection.

M (ex-housemate) had spent the Sunday emptying and cleaning out the house, so that the floors were very clean, which made the cleanup on Monday a lot less stressful and quicker. It still took about 5 hours, even without doing any garden work. Now there is just the matter of the outstanding bills owed to me :-\

Apparently the landlord said to the agent that he didn't agree to us moving out a month early even though the termination letter sent by the agent said he would probably agree to it, and I had sent the reciprocal lease termination a month prior to moving out. I thought a non-reply was a sign of agreement. Apparently not.

However, the agent was able to calm the landlord down on both counts, and everything has been forgotten. I hope I don't have anything to do with those landlords again. :-\ Currently I have a request for various fixes to the new place to be handed to the new agent, and I am worried how they will be received. The new landlord does not seem to be the 'handyman' type, so I have no idea how long we'll be waiting for non-leaking taps in the laundry, an outside light fixed, and various other things. I also want to start poisoning the noxious weeds (sticky weed, ivy, wandering dew, bindii grass, cooch), so it's ready for when I get back from overseas, and does not take much looking after by the house-sitter. But that requires permission, and getting permission means completing this letter, and getting Bernie to take it to the agent.

I want everything to be done, finished and settled with the old house (final bills to arrive, M to pay outstanding monies, bond returned). I don't feel like I've settled into the new house yet as there is still too much hanging over from the old house. It's making working/studying at all quite difficult (bad health, exhaustion, too much work and boxes everywhere is not making it any easier).

Remedyfind - endo has finally put up an endometriosis section. Loads of different remedies have already been reviewed, with more reviews it will become even more useful. You do need to register before being able to rate/review remedies.

Thursday, October 23, 2003


I have decided that I shouldn't open all the windows... or plan to do washing... cos it then rains hard and long (and floods the fishpond, possibly even under the house). However, rain is good, we do need more of it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

GM crops harm wildlife

It has been found that some GM crops have harmed wildlife. This happened in small 'controlled' test crops in Britain. Contamination of neighboring crops (several miles away) has also been found. And GM food companies wonder why people in general are not happy about GM crops.

Saturday, October 18, 2003


I hate it when people are irresponsible with other's time, money and reputation. My mother and brother were picking up some left over outdoor furniture from my old place after mowing earlier in the day, and found my ex-housemate leaving with a trailer load. Mum and Brett came back to check to see that the house was left locked because they had noted that all of the windows and the back doors were wide open. The windows and doors were left completely wide open, and certainly not locked! Only the deadlock on the front door was actually locked, the door handle and wire screen were also both unlocked.

Now for starters, I have no idea where M (ex-housemate) got the keys from for the windows, as I had left the place locked and she had given her window keys back (and didn't have a key to the back sliding door). That is one thing to worry about. My insurance policy is still covering that place, and she did not pay bond (the government did), so if anything happened, I would have to pay for it - it would come out of my bond. And god knows when I would get any money back from her for that. (Note - I did get some of the money she owed... still owing $120 and final bills are due next week). In any case.... seeing that the house was left open, Mum rang me, and I had Bernie drive me there (with a migraine) to lock up. M came back just as we were leaving, walked right past ignoring me, and then when I said something she lost it. I just hope her keys did not fall through the porch when she threw them.

I am quite worried what the state of the house will be when I go to clean on Monday. You see, I had left all but her bedroom spotless and empty (apart from a small pile of her stuff in the dining). Lounge, main bedroom and study were completely empty and the kitchen was spotless. I had left the place clean so I only had to spend a couple of hours finishing up before handing the keys back to the agent. I don't have the time, health, energy or money to spend more time and effort on cleaning. But of course I will if I have to because I have no stain on my reputation as a renter/bill payer, and I will make sure it stays that way, even if it kills me.

I had to pick up some stuff on Thursday on the way home from acupuncture and found her stuff strewn throughout the entire house. Instead of packing, she had spread into every single room with clothes, food, junk mail, paper, books, ornaments, etc. Also found 2 additional mattresses in various rooms, and the kitchen in a horrible mess. Rice all over the floor, leftovers on plates and in saucepans, dishes that had been soaking or waiting to be washed on every available surface in the kitchen. Rotting food had just been tossed into the bin without bags (I don't have a hose there any more to rinse the bin!) I can not believe the irresponsible and disrespectful way is she has treated this situation, the house and me. I had thought she had more sense and respect than that.

What I really don't understand is why she spread everything into all the rooms when she should have been packing to move. As she broke down today when I stressed that she should be responsible enough to leave the house locked properly when left alone, she said she hated moving and had a headache and no time. If she had packed instead of spread she would have been able to move in 1-2 trips! Less than a couple of hours.

Because I asked her to keep the place locked and to show a bit more respect for other's property, money and reputation she broke down. I'm worried that this might cause even more damage to the property, or me to not be paid for the remaining bills. I'm probably worrying too much, but I can't afford to pay for her bills and spend more than half a day readying the house for returning it to the agent.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Bad mouses

I am not having a good time with computer hardware at the moment.. my ps2 mouse port on my dual boot machine has died (probably blew the fuse). I wasted $25 on a new ps2 mouse before finding out it was the port though. Windows wants drivers before it can use the USB mouse and I discovered that Quicktime crashes without the mouse. It required the keyboard mouse accessibility stuff to be on to work QT in order for me to view the new ROTK trailer. I want ROTK now... and I want the EE of TT yesterday! In other computer frustrations, I couldn't play through the digital audio from either of the two SCSI CDRoms and the IDE CDRom is not good enough to get a non broken digital stream.

However, I do have pictures up, so it's feeling a little less like I've just moved. The kitchen is still not sorted - I have no idea where I'm going to put my billion and one herbs and spices. You can't move in the storage room under the house (well... you can... just not very far), and the garden is crying out. All the books are still in boxes, and will be for a long time, although once the Sten shelves are up, the games can come out of storage, and there will be more room in the lounge.

We had a murder today. A one legged raven poked Fatty the goldfish (true to his name) from the pond. Bernie saw him and flipped him back into the pond, but he had a hole leading to his brain (or at least into his head), and finally stopped breathing, so became the start of a new compost pile. The murderer came back to take another swoop at the pond later on, probably wondering where his dinner went.

I'm in a load of pain, and wondering if it's because I haven't been to acupuncture for 4 weeks or so. I half hope it is, and half hope it isn't because I don't want to have to continue forking out $80 odd each fortnight for treatment and herbs. My supervisors are pressuring me to get work done on the project - specifically the experiments, which I am really not looking forward to. I have extensions on 3 assignments that I am completely non-motivated to do, and am running out of time for everything (and running out of Mersyndol Forte for pain).

Money is getting to a desperate situation, mostly due to my ex-housemate owing so much, and not knowing if/when I get my $2000 bonus for teaching for three semesters straight. My leave in December has still not been approved, and the person who usually arranges my (incredibly strange and difficult) contract changes at this time of the year has quit without warning or leaving any instructions. I was due to go full time sometime this week to start getting my bonus.... it takes about a fortnight to process contract changes, and I can't be full time in December when I go on leave. I hate money, I hate being paid a pittance for too many hours work, and I hate it when people don't pay their (very large) overdue bills (heading up to a month now).

Long rambly post because my brain is not working. Sleep now.... maybe tonight I won't dream of spiders, or my childhood, or of being hunted/killed. *sigh*

Why cool?

I have been reading about Monash's Cool Campus initiative. I don't see anything 'cool' about it. Useful, yes, and trendy to a point. But really it's just about tying technology closer to teaching, learning and everyday life. It assumes that students and staff are rich enough to own laptops, PDAs and various other forms of technology. It would probably encourage more students not to attend classes, the audio recordings of the lectures and the provided lecture notes already do a very good job of ensuring low attendance.

I also wonder how much information is too much? One of the projects was to investigate a web-based bulletin board (like the first year noticeboard, etc), which can display class cancellations and dynamic content. While ideally useful, how many students would take notice of it after the first few times they walk past? And how many would go out of their way to walk past it (especially over in the new CSSE building, 10 minutes walk from the center of Clayton campus)?

Friday, October 3, 2003


Ok... now it's a reality, I'm moving house on Sunday, instead of three weeks. This has come about for a number of reasons. Movers cost too much. They don't insure against damaging goods (including pianos) in transit - that's extra. My housemate owes me nearly $400, which would have paid for movers had their prices been a little more reasonable.

Which means I have three days to pack the house, clean everything, and salvage my bulbs and other plants from the garden. I hope they survive being pulled up this early!

And of course, I have 3 huge assignments and an exam in the next week and a bit, not to mention I'm suffering from exhaustion & depression (I had to put down my angel fish which I had for about 4 years, and had to do it quickly, which meant using a knife *argh!!*).

And I panicked earlier, thinking daylight savings was starting this weekend, and would therefore lose an hour. I hate daylight savings, it means there is more daylight when I'm meant to be awake, and I don't like daylight. However, two kind people have pointed it out to me that it starts at the end of October - thanks! Much relief.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Pond cleaning

Anyone have any good ideas how to clean out a pond? This has a couple of limitations - it cannot be refilled due to water restrictions, and there are at least 2 goldfish residents who have carved a tunnel and cave out of the sludge that is currently in the pond. I want to get the sludge out, let it refill with rain, and keep the fish alive (I don't have anywhere to put the fish while doing this. I also need to get some form of recycling bubbler/waterfall thingy in there to improve the water for the (big) fishies.

At the moment I am dreading having to remove sludge 1-2 handfuls at a time, sludge is nearly as bad as spiders.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003


Something has hit me today... or rather lots of little (and not so little) things have built up so that I have come down with the hugest migraine I have had since high school. I can't see much (especially in the light), incredibly nauseous, have no balance, and my legs aren't working, and the pain... it's been a while since I've nearly passed out from the pain. For the first time in honours I have left a lecture half way through because I was so sick. At least I have a bean bag in my office - less far to fall. Somehow I have to explain the tutorial and prac being covered after the break to the tutors in 15 minutes. Eeek.....

I don't know why the phrase 'sick as a dog' came into existence. Surely everything can be sick to the same level?

Monday, September 22, 2003


Everything is happening at once, and not just small things :-\ Bernie is moving, we had to go through the house in minute detail for the condition report (decided to take photos of everything, and hand in a CD with the report), CSSE is moving (I'll be moving on Friday), the final test and exam have been written, I have 3 large assignments due in a couple of weeks (one more, an exam and a research paper to go for the subjects), I'll be moving in a month, and I'm in so much pain it's ridiculous. *sigh* Thus I won't be updating this page over frequently.... Possibly with some photos of the new house when I get some time/energy to do some non-thinking and non-physical work.

Random thought

I wonder how many real estate agents, employers, credit checkers etc do a Google search on a name these days, to find out what sort of person you are (even though it may not be accurate)? I have an unusual name.. not many have my odd spellings.. Note - Kymberly Eirlys sounds ridiculous when spelt out using German pronunciation of the letters - why on earth is 'y' pronouced "oopsilon"??

Sunday, September 14, 2003

The lack...

Again, I'm in a rut. I have no motivation to do anything, although I wrote a neat test today (least I think it's neat, not sure what the students and/or Debbie will think). I'm trying to find the impetus to push me to start finishing the rest of the compression assignment, and it's not working. It's completely annoying, hard to understand and the teacher doesn't understand what is being taught, so the assignment questions don't make sense for a number of reasons.

Am getting excited about moving - signed the lease today, and we get the keys next Friday night. *bounce* We are going to take a kettle, cups, tea bags, folding chairs and grab dinner at Pinewood chicken shop, then measure everything! We are within walking distance to Pinewood, and the best chicken shop I have ever been to, not to mention an excellent butcher, grocer, pharmacist, 24 hour Coles and a cheap small cinema with gorgeous sound. The pizza place we recently discovered (that makes the best pizza I have ever eaten) will deliver to the new house (it's near my current house), and we are also within walking distance to another shopping center with a 24 hour Coles. Unfortunately there are no fabric/craft stores in any nearby places, and Alasya hasn't magically moved any closer, but that's about all I can complain about, for location of shops/food places. Basically it's in the area that I had considered ideal :>

I want it to be Friday, where compression assignment is handed in, parallel assignment readings have been collected and read, and can spend an evening exploring, planning and condition reporting the new place.

US$200 bill

The description of the US$200 bill used to pay a grocery store in the US, is quite amusing.

Thursday, September 11, 2003


Bernie mentioned last night that a survey of Australians that required people to rank their concerns about various issues, showed that most people were more concerned about council fees than about child abuse! As a survivor of 14 years of sexual abuse by my father, I think that this is despicable. As a human being I'm appalled at the lack of concern for abused children. The child abuse prevention association was also horrified, but I can't see the government doing anything more than they are currently. It's completely and utterly ridiculous. And then those people wonder why there are so many dysfunctional familes, troubled kids, suicides, drug users, and so much violence. BAH!

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Bad head update

Seems like I always go much further than others when I get sick. As I am getting really bad sinusitis infections regularly, and I have an enlarged adenoid (the gland at the top of the throat, behind the nose), I'm going to get my sinuses thoroughly checked out. I can't have the medication that would work for it (allergic), neither can I have any migraine medicine (anti-inflamms are not allowed due to kidney disease).

It won't be till next year, when I actually have some money saved up, as it may require an operation to remove the adenoid (through the nose - apparently it's a very painful operation/recovery, yay :-\). I will be sent to a specialist to see if I have any polyps or growths anywhere else in the sinuses. But the current diagnosis of my headaches is that it is due to sinusitis. Another load of tests and MRIs - I'm so sick of it!

At the moment, it has also fostered a virus that has set my throat off and put fluid in one ear. I just hope no one complains that I'm not at uni for consultation, 'cos at the moment I don't have much patience.

Lashing out

I am going to have pizza. With cheese. I haven't had dairy in quite a while, as I think I am lactose intolerant (in a strange way). Going off dairy helped reduce the pain enormously, and as my body was getting used to not having it, any tiny amount caused bad cramps. However, I had some chocolate the other day and only felt heavy, no pain. So dammit, I am getting pizza. I don't have to teach on Friday, so can have pain-killers if necessary.

Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Rude housemate

I can't believe it. My current housemate, has deliberately opened snail-mail addressed to me (for the second time). This is after I had asked her not to. I feel horrible (violated is an over-strong word, it does apply to trust though). It's such a breach of privacy, shows an incredible lack of respect, no concern for privacy, and is probably the rudest thing anyone has ever done to me. (Not necessarily the meanest). I'm majorly annoyed and upset now.

New house

As you may be aware, the house I am currently living in is being demolished at the end of November (when the lease runs out). This prompted me and Bernie to decide to move in together. So we went house hunting (for the first time) on Saturday, had a look at one open house first, and then visited a couple of houses after getting the keys from the agents. The house open for inspection was well presented, just how well presented was not clear until we had seen some others. We ended up getting this one.

The first house we got the keys for was in a horrible state! There was junk (rusted iron bits, car bits, broken furniture and garden impelments, etc) throughout the yard and garage, the backyard was a mess, there were many broken windows (I saw 5), stuck together with sticky tape, the house was falling to bits inside (structurally, as well as the carpet, bathroom and kitchen fittings). Various locks and hinges on doors (inside and out) were broken. I was horrified, and walked around in shock. I have never actually seen a house in such bad disrepair. And they wanted $270 per week for it! The second house was advertised as a 4 bedroom, but one of the rooms would probably have been a dining room/study as there was no door, and you had to walk through it to get to the other 3 bedrooms. The third house had tenants in it, so it felt wrong to be looking through. Again, it was a 3 bedroom house with the main bedroom accessible through another room (counted as the 4th bedroom, similar to the previous house).

Having seen these three houses, the first one really stood out, so we applied on that same Saturday. After ringing around references and landlords, we were approved, bond has been paid and a contract has been half signed. There were a couple of wierd things in the contract which don't make sense: a clause "You agree that the whitegoods are in working order", (includes dishwasher/oven/hotplates). This was before we even have looked at the fittings properly, let alone tested them! There was also a clause "The previous tenant was the landlord". Never heard of that one before, no idea why it' a clause. And it was untrue - this landlord is a company, not a person, and companies don't live in houses. I hope the agents don't cause many problems, both of us have had excellent agents/landlords in the past, and neither of us will tolerate being screwed around. They are being stubborn about several things. However, we might be able to get a couple of cats sometime into the lease, yay!

So.... Bernie moves later this month, and I move at the end of October. However, the Comp Sci department is moving into a new building in the next few weeks, so I'll be moving offices as well. Busy times ahead with 3 moves.... ug..... I'm tired already.

Monday, September 8, 2003


I'm going to complain here about my honours data compression assignment. If there are any honours students that read this blog, doing cse457 who haven't handed in their assignment, they may benefit or sympathise.

I have just experienced something that occurs frequently in the IT industry. A program does not match it's documentation or specifications. This program was written in awk, which I would guess that none of the honours students are familiar with, and the assignment required us to modify it to analyse files to create a model for data compression (and find out the number of bits that file would take up).

The steps explained in the assignment sheet were very hard to understand, and the program we were provided with did not follow those steps. If we didn't know awk, how were we to tell? The output of the program is hideous, especially for special characters (\n \t etc).

But supposing we fixed the program and translated it into a language that we could understand (in this case perl because of it's parsing capabilities). The new program creates various distributions, computes entropies, and calculates the final number of bits that this scheme would use represent the analysed file in, all according to the assignment sheet (not following the supplied program).

However, the process itself is not accurate, because it assumes that the decoder (receiver) can 'mind-read' and find out what those distributions are before receiving the message! It doesn't take into account the number of bits needed to send the relative frequency distributions for each of the parts (hmmm... sounds like MML doesn't it). Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Now I have to deal with the last two questions, which again involves modifying provided code to compress binary images. I am desperately hoping the code is understandable and matches the documentation.

(Note - this assignment is the same as those from at least 1996 until now - nothing has changed).

Sunday, September 7, 2003

Doctor Incarnated

With Doctor Who just about to be shown again (and with all of my friends clambering to get a DigTV card for their computers in time to 'tape' it), I thought it fiitting that I should do this quiz (prompted by Wiz). Funnily enough, I'm my favourite doctor!

The Fourth Doctor

You are the Fourth Doctor: A walking Bohemian conundrum with a brooding personal magnetism and a first-rate intellect concealed somewhere beneath your charmingly goofy exterior. You are perhaps the most terribly clever of all the Doctors, though your occasional bouts of childishness get you in trouble. You never go looking for a fight, but when someone messes with you... good heavens, are they ever sorry they did.

Which Incarnation of the Doctor Are You?

Bad head....

For some reason, the past five-six weeks have been riddled with migraines and bad headaches. This means I've been taking pain killers more often, which lowers the overall pain threshold. Prior to this, I hadn't had a migraine for months, not since I bought new glasses. The acupuncturist thought it might have been due to my period. But that's been and gone, and I've still got them. I'd better get my adenoid checked - the headaches might be caused by my sinuses. Or stress. I wish I knew! My chest has also been incredibly sore (costochondritis perhaps?), and my back is solid.

Finding the beginning to this cycle is impossible.

Ahh well... doctors visit Tuesday.

Thursday, September 4, 2003

Bone cold...

I need some way to warm up from being completely cold through. Heaters, heat packs, baths, exercise, food, warm drinks, sun etc don't seem to be working today. And it's not even that cold! Suggestions (apart from the above) will be appreciated....

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Unexpected time

Well, I thought the marking would take longer. It probably did take a long time (about 11 hours stright without a break), but I finished it last night (or rather this morning at 6:30am). That means I have a weekend! Yay! More time to spend on data compression assignments.

And due to this feeling of 'extra' time, I decided to do some exercise this morning (belly dance and yoga routines). Am now sore... and cold for some reason. I don't think the heater is working properly. (Just checked, my column heater has now officially died - the thermostat works, it just doesn't switch on!)

We wants to see Two Towers, precioussss, yesssss, we wants it! We wants it now!! I wonder if I can bully Bernie to borrow and watch it and the specials with me... I need some off work/study time.

Doc Martins

I recently had a huge amount of trouble recently trying to find Doc Martens 14up boots. I chased many stores by phone around Melbourne, and got a list of shops that at one time bought 14ups from the main Doc Marten company in Melbourne. So here is the list of what I found:

  • Yodgee Urban Style (Hawthorn and Prahran) has a couple of pairs of 14ups in UK sizes 8 or 10 for $247
  • DC Street (Melbourne City, Richmond, South Yarra) has a few pairs of 14ups in UK sizes UK5, 9, 10, 11, 12 for $149 (on sale)
  • The Shoe Fitz (Fitzroy) has 1 pair of 14ups in UK size 6 for $269.95
  • Shoes Galore (Dandenong) has 1 pair of 14ups in UK size 4 and and is possibly able to get one pair in UK size 7 for $240
  • USM (Frankston) has 14ups in all UK sizes except for UK size 8 for $240

(Note: the prices above was what I was quoted on the phone two weeks ago)

Apparently 14ups are only made once a year and ship to Melbourne stores in April, so this is completely the wrong time of year to look for them. The rumour that the Doc Marten company had folded seems to be unfounded, however, the shoes will no longer be made in England. So there may be a dry spell for spotting Docs for sale in the near future while the company relocates is manufacturing.

Friday, August 29, 2003


So here I am, sitting at work on a Friday night, marking test papers. After a rotten day in a fair amount of pain, waiting for the mersyndol to kick in. You see, I had to attend a meeting for the CS review on programming, where it was decided that I should also be involved in the professional developement review for CS (which meets on my days off). But before that, I found out that it is unlikely I have a job next year. They are probably going to cut back the number of Assistant Lecturers, and despite the fact that I lecture for 2 semesters, I am likely to be out of a job. So much for loyalty.... I can always tutor of course, it actually pays better. But it is only seasonal casual and I don't get an office. I wonder how they will do without the ALs, considering 3 of the 7 lecture in at least one semester, and the lecturers would kick up the most almighty stink if they had to do all the admin that the ALs normally did.

Then I made the mistake of going shopping for trousers. It is impossible to find trousers that fit me, and I have no idea why it's so darned difficult!

And now, after a horrid day, I'm back at work for the next how ever many hours trying to get as far into the marking as possible, and I just know what to expect. *sigh*

Sunday, August 24, 2003


It's interesting to note that whenever I get extremely busy or extremely stressed (more often both), my period breaks through. Now if I was a healthy person, without both adenomyosis and endometriosis that probably wouldn't bother me more than be just an inconvenience. However, as the endo and adeno growths bleed internally with the period, the amount of pain is insane. Which places me gibbering nonsensically in bed, or taking loads of strong pain killers.

Of course, I am not allowed to take the medications that would work (anti-inflammatories), as I have fairly advanced kidney disease. Another problem is that everytime the adeno bleeds, the swelling increases, it grows, probably moving forward the date of a full hysterectomy (damn it, I'm only 26, I don't need another (permanent) menopause yet!!) (note: three months of Zolodex treatment for smeared endo growths gave me a three month menopause, with all the 'side' effects)

So... as this is one of the busiest times of the year (the next worst will be November), and I am laid low yet again. It might result in some very interesting drug induced coding for the data compression assignment....

The main problem I see for this week is the two lectures and six hours of consultation. Recently the 'everyday' pain has been getting to the stage where I collapse, trying not to scream, and luckily it has only happened once when a student was around. I am desperately hoping the Mersyndol Forte will work for the spikes, must remember to put it in my bag.....

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Gah... too much work!

This is for the next couple of weeks, so I can look back at the end and say "I survived that?!?"

  • Marking 300 tests for CSE1303 (from 29-9 over the weekend)
  • CSE462 paper 1 due 1-9 (comparing specialised hardware parallel systems with common cluster systems)

  • CSE457 large programming assignment due 8-9

  • CSE462 paper 2 due 12-9 (pros and cons of specialised parallel approaches to VR)

  • CSE1303 Exam due 15-9 (needs to have been test sat, proof read several times, and approved by first year co-ord)

And of course Bernie's birthday and our anniversary are slap bang in the middle. *bah* My honours supervisor just told me she wanted the honours project finished this year - not a chance! We will be moving two houses into one in November, and then going to Germany for a month over December, which means I need to have all the CSE1303 courseware ready to go before I leave. Will I survive this year?

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Isle of the Dead, by Roger Zelazny

Roger Zelazny - Isle of the Dead

This book was intriguing as it was written in a style I don't read very often (and it was written quite a while ago). Half written as flashbacks, the full story really isn't revealed or intertwined fully until the last few pages, which made it a very interesting read. There were some reflections on alien life, social commentary, musings on the possibilities of gods versus psychoses, and could easily have been turned into a series. But this was back when series weren't required from writers of sci-fi and fantasy, so it was kept short. I'd love to read more in the universe.

Virtual cookies

Now... if only I could send cookies over the internet to those who are stressed... Instead, here is a recipe

Basic Drop Cookies

1.5c plain flour

1 or so tsp baking powder - use more if you want fluffier cookies

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 c sugar (whatever sort you prefer)

5-6 tbsp butter (or nuttelex)

1 tsp vanilla essence (essential - more if preferred)

1 egg

1-2 tbsp milk (or soy)

Cream the butter and sugar, add egg, milk, and vanilla and beat well. Add any extra 'wet' flavourings to this mix. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients (and dry flavourings), then add to wet ingredients a little at a time, beating well. Drop smallish spoonfuls onto a greased baking tray (works really well with something like glad bake), leaving space for cookies to spread. Bake in a moderate oven (350F) for 10-15 minutes or until slightly coloured.

You can add any flavourings you like, but you may need to change quantities of some things. Some of my favourites: - coconut, white chocolate and toasted almonds (or no white chocolate for non-dairy) - cocoa powder and dark chocolate == chocolate choc chip, though milk chocolate would work better - apricot, sultana and oats == healthier - ground hazelnuts and chopped hazelnuts - better if toasted.

You get the idea :>

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Grid Linkage

I was trying to figure out how to structure my website, and did a diagram, linking all the various sections to each other. This resulted in the discovery that most sections are linked to most other sections. HTML is not a good medium to show such linkage in textual navigation (or graphical for that matter). So at the moment I am at a loss as to what to do for the navigation for the site, and because this is where I like to start when designing a site, the whole lot is on hold.

Not to mention I'm meant to be writing up my Lit Review final for honours to be handed in on Tuesday/Wednesday, and a paper comparing general and specific parallel hardware/software systems (typically cluster based), and an assignment for Compression requiring coding in a language that the lecturer doesn't understand (*grin* of course this is on purpose).

Thus, I won't allow myself to think about this site for a bit. Perhaps mid September will see something happening.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

No more Docs?!?

I just found out today that Dr Martens (the wonderful shoe company) is no more. Please someone tell me it isn't so. I haven't found any news items about it, and was just about to buy my next pair of 14ups (which are darned hard to find in Australia anyway!) *pout*

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Ents are alive!!

Here is proof that the Ents still exist! Or there is one hell of a good costumer and stilt artist out there! Wow!!!

Too much HTML hacking

I have just spent far too much time and effort getting my work site working again after the restructure and change in styles. But it's done. So I can forget about that for a bit and concentrate on finishing and starting various other honours projects. This site is going to take quite a bit longer to set up, so please be patient. The next section that will be re-added will be the health information as that is important for me to have available. I will not be going through all the old posts in this blog to fix up broken links around the old site, it's just too much work to go through 300 odd posts individually! Web interfaces are far too slow!

Tuesday, August 5, 2003


This is just to let people know, that the personal stuff on my CSSE work site is currently being dismantled. Once I have all the pages working again (without all the stuff that may or may not be against acceptable use policy) I will move everything to I will be setting up a forward page for this blog, so if you have linked to it, you won't be completely severed. On a side note, it's always quite amusing and somewhat strange to find that people you know are reading your blog, and even linking to it! (Hi Josh :>). I don't get many comments so I tend to assume this isn't widely read.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Knitting back in vogue

It looks like knitting is popular once again, though this time groups of knitters are meeting in pubs. One member of Knit and Purl has ambitions to knit a 15 foot tea cosy for Federation Square. Neat idea!

X rated robot

Researchers in robotics at the University of Reading have created an X rated robot. Really it's just a fairly innocuous robot head that can follow people around the room and record reactions (sight, sound, infrared, etc). The Ethics department decided that it was too scary and anyone under 18 is required to have their guardian's signed consent to view it, however I think it's quite cute, especially the blue eyes. I wonder what would happen to the movie rating system if research Ethics departments took over??!

Eye Among the Blind, by Robert Holdstock

Robert Holdstock - Eye Among the Blind

This is an excellent book, with a well thought out storyline and an intriguing premise. It is Holdstock's first novel, and is a fairly short almost pure science-fiction story, quite different from his later mythological/fantasy novels. It's strange to see how Final Fantasy (the movie) is similar to this story, although Holdstock seems to be more jaded with typical human behaviour than the Final Fantasy authors (I don't blame him either). Although this is set on another planet, some of the ecological ideas should be applied back on Earth in my opinion. The only thing I would have preferred was a clearer description of the Fear, and have noticed a couple of people around the web referring to it since finishing the book. Highly recommended!

Monday, July 28, 2003

Whale Rider

Based on the book: The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera, and enhanced by the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack by Lisa Gerrard, Whale Rider was very powerful and sad. Again the dysfunctional family life struck home, but the sarcastic moments made it a lot lighter. The acting was masterful and the story was very different to most of the films that are being released, making it stand out from this year's releases.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Own domain

I'm getting my very own domain : I feel geeky! But at least I can get all my non-Monash stuff away from Monash. New acceptable use policies get introduced every few months and each time cut further and further into using Monash resources for anything but work. Thank goodness I'm not using any of the site-licensed Microsoft products - they were threatening to remove the operating system from users who used it for personal mail/web browsing, anything at all!

This should be set up vaguely (hopefully) in a couple of weeks, and then the personal and health sections and this blog will be deleted from my CSSE site. Now I really need to get stuck into honours work. 2 cancelled lectures in the first two weeks of uni means I really haven't got into a rhythm yet, still floating around feeling quite lost. I also start teaching next week - 300 first year programming students! Eeek!

The Hours

This was a very deep and moving movie with many layers. It didn't actually make that much sense to me until we approached the end and all the strands were tied together a lot tighter. I hadn't read anything by Virginia Woolf so I had no preconceived ideas about how her writing should be set to screen, or even what she wrote about. I will be looking up some of her books now. The message that everyone has a choice about their lives and how they live them, struck home rather strongly, as this is what I fight with my family about all of the time. The music by Philip Glass pulled the movie along and added so much to the already excellent performances by the three main actresses. Definately a movie and soundtrack that I will be buying.

GM Crop approved

The Australian government has just approved the first genetically modified (GM) food crop - canola. I think that the GM crop debate should have been thrown open to a referendum, or at the very least, a decision by all the farmers that may be affected. I'm appalled that this hasn't made a larger and louder impact in the news. Even though some states have or are planning moratoriums for a couple of years, contamination of non-GM crops can occur as 'trials' are allowed Australia wide. Stupid......

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Musical people...

There is a discussion on Korner at the moment about who could teach what at the 'Korner school', and at some stage music and sports came up. I'm woefully inadequate for teaching sport, but have taught music for a bit, and can probably teach most instruments :>

However, that sent me down memory lane to when the drama department and a small subset of the music department put on the musical Busy Malone (I was in year 8, and it was the only one we got to do, thanks to Kennet/Unions cancelling all music/drama/outside school activities). The people who were in the little band were incredibly talented, and we (nearly) all played multiple instruments during the course of the show. There were:

Mr Rowlands - conductor, keyboard

Ms Walker - keyboard, cello, bass guitar

Gareth - guitar, bass guitar, banjo

Me - keyboard, clarinet (solo!), bass clarinet, violin (solo!)

Paul - dedicated drum kit

Stuart - visiting trumpeter (one of the three nights)

It was the most difficult yet the most fun thing I did with my music, apart from when I performed with the Grainger wind symphony (timpani and keyboard percussion). One of the scariest points was where I had a violin string snap on me during the middle of a piece - Mr Rowlands switched to keyboard at that point, and I frantically restrung and tuned the treacherous instrument.

Ahhh the good old musical days... I miss them.

Level of hell...

Cute quiz decided I wasn't all that bad: The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to the First Level of Hell - Limbo! Take the Dante's Divine Comedy Inferno Test

Description from the test site
"Charon ushers you across the river Acheron, and you find yourself upon the brink of grief's abysmal valley. You are in Limbo, a place of sorrow without torment. You encounter a seven-walled castle, and within those walls you find rolling fresh meadows illuminated by the light of reason, whereabout many shades dwell. These are the virtuous pagans, the great philosophers and authors, unbaptised children, and others unfit to enter the kingdom of heaven. You share company with Caesar, Homer, Virgil, Socrates, and Aristotle. There is no punishment here, and the atmosphere is peaceful, yet sad."


I was thinking about posting a rant today, but my head is too foggy and I'm too exhausted to work up the energy to do it. So I'll just post a warning to those who have new (hard) insteps. Break them in very gradually, and don't walk for long distances for a while, or you will end up with deep huge blisters covering the soles of your feet! Also, don't swap from that to non-supportive shoes (they need to contain some arch support) and do a lot of walking - that will most likely severely hurt your ankles and calves. I speak from very recent experience here....

Monday, July 21, 2003

Pep talk

I just had a 'phone' meeting with Linda, who reminded me of a couple of points that I had really forgotten about, or never thought of. The main one being that I am doing honours primarily for myself, which is quite different to how I had been seeing it.

Part of the reason I am so dis-motivated is due to the incredible drop in quality of students and tutors, something along the lines of 'why should I try my damnedest to create a good product that will help them if they are unwilling to put the effort in to help themselves'. This feeling was amplified enormously when using exactly the same assignment and marking guide as last year for CSE1304, we would have had an 80% fail rate had we not changed the marking scheme.

So..... I have to try to turn my thinking around to focusing on how honours will help me have more choices in the future. This will be difficult.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

LotR coins

New Zealand is releasing coins featuring many designs from Lord of the Rings as legal tender. Just one more reason to move there ;>

Gollum Statue

Weta have released a life-sized gollum statue at the 2003 Comic Con. Apparently he had his own seat on the plane crossing.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Comfort food

I freaked my mum out today making pumpkin soup. The way I do it is I chop up half a butternut pumpkin and a large sweet potato and boil them in lightly salted water till soft. Sometimes I add one finely chopped and sauteed leek. Once all are soft, drain but leave in the saucepan, add leeks, then mash.

Then add a couple of tablespoons of nuttelex, and enough soy milk, freshly ground sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, and ground cumin till desired consistency and taste is reached. Obviously you can substitute table salt, pre-ground pepper, butter and milk, but it isn't as good or dairy free.

I typically add 1-2 tbsp's of cumin as I love this spice, this time I up-ended the cumin bottle (had about 1.5 Tbsps in it) and completely shocked mum. It was fun (everyone likes shocking their mothers), and she even liked the taste (suprise)!

Now that my bread has cooked, I'm eating the yummy soup with freshly baked seeded bread with garlic bread mix sprinkled on it (buttered first, of course). Just what I needed after a visit from my family. Now I'm just waiting for a delicious strawberry moo-free smoothie to turn up, courtesy of the wonderful, special Bernie.

It's a pity he doesn't like pumpkin.....

More cases of chicken pox

Two friends of my brother's have become ill with something that sounds very similar to my virus (which is most probably chicken pox). They also think it's chicken pox, and they are infected for the second time in their life. Perhaps there is a new strain going around that doesn't care if you have been infected before? At least mine seems to be receeding now, and is no longer itchy, although I think that has more to do with the amount of other pain I am in, which is taking my complete concentration not to scream. I'll be back at uni for work next week in any case.

Chinese medicine recall

This is really just a note to myself, that the medicines recalled contain ingredients suspected for causing renal failure in 70 people in Belgium. The recall was in NZ but many of the medicines were tested in Australia. NZ MOH News article, images of products. These recalls were issued January 2003.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Music as a profile

I have just stumbled upon a ridiculous article explaining that: "Almost anything about a man or a woman - from their looks, intelligence and fitness, to politics, wealth and even conversational ability - can be gleaned from the tunes they enjoy most." I wonder what they would make of my collection: Frente, Dead Can Dance, STOA, TombRaider, Lord of the Rings, Labyrinth, Dune, Seal, Tea Party, Midnight Oil, Tarkan, Bend it like Beckham, Icehouse, loads of classical, many more varied soundtracks and of course many more.....


I'm going to have to find a new face soap after this, mine is based on calamine, and I am already completely sick of it. The bottles of calamine lotion available in Coles are made for kids and kid-sized chicken pox infections. I have already gone through about a quarter of the bottle in two applications, covering me in the stuff. I don't want to do my cross stitch because my hands are so chalky. Oh yeah, calamine is also cold and wet, my least favourite combination (and needs time to dry before putting on clothes == even more frozen!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2003


The allergic reaction is not an allergic reaction in my opinion. I think I have measles or chicken pox. The red spots are turning into raised welts with blisters, and I'm feeling generally crap. So... I have to miss the workshops I was going to do, and not go in to work till next week. With all three, allergy, measles and chicken pox, once the spots show, time is the only cure. So time and rest it is. Now just waiting to hear from the acupuncturist if I should keep the appointment on Thursday.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Something old, something new

I lost the day today to something completely new (and the remnants or beginnings of a cold/throat virus of some sorts). This is the first time that I have ever had a rash reaction that covers the majority of my skin, thankfully not my face. All the old ezcma spots are horribly red, dry, itchy and peeling, and I'm covered in little red bumps. An allergy to something.

The acupuncturist thinks it might just be a detox reaction, the herbs finally beginning to work. I see her on Thursday to try muscle testing to find out the cause (this will be interesting). My housemate is sick as a dog with a very bad cold/sinus thing, causing many bad nosebleeds, stuffy head and a shocking cough. I'm desperately hoping I can avoid it, but have had to stop taking ease-a-cold tablets in case I'm reacting to something in that. If I do get it, it will either be a shocker of a sinus infection or drop to bronchitis/fluid on the lungs.

I am too run down. Am also off meat (apart from fish) for a bit, as meat often has antibiotic residues in it. In any case, I perplexed the doctor once again, seems to happen every time I'm in there to be diagnosed with something.

Sleep now, with a rotten head and frozen toes.....

Monday, July 14, 2003

Productive days

For a no study day, yesterday was very productive, even though I got through 6 (slow) missions of Dune 2000. I completed the next two colours in the wing of the dragon (only about 20 left), made a pair of cute PJs, fixed my old ones, fixed a top and pillow cases. It's now down to a black 'pettiskirt' in my planned sewing cabinet (though many many other projects are yet to be planned). Friday was doing nothing much, Thursday I prepared the end garden bed (of course I hurt my back and hamstrings, and for some reason my abs - I felt like I had done sit-ups, which is not good for the adeno pain). I actually motivated myself past the pain and exercised this morning, so I feel like I'm on an upwards turn, which may indeed see some honours being done soon.

Unfortunately I have until Wednesday to get 2 papers, a lit review and the experiment polished and webified, which I know is completely impossible. I might be able to get one paper done by then if I concentrate. In any case, I still feel accomplished.

Musical 'Mare?

I seem to be having a spate of dreams that are unusual. This one was a performance with a brass band, Mr Cohen conducting, and me playng clarinet (which as you can probably guess, stood out like crazy). I haven't had a musical dream since I was in early high school, especially where I could hear the band and myself performing (wrong notes included). For some reason the depressed feeling stayed throughout the dream, more like panic around the family (which matches my current feelings). Other than those feelings, and wanting someone to be there who wasn't, it wasn't a bad dream.

As we arrived at the venue there was a belly dancing convention winding down, neat costumes, jingling coins, people in small groups dancing to their own rhythms, and a stall that was closing. I was dressed in my usual warm layers of black, so stood out like a dead thumb as I walked up to the stall owner - I wanted a hip scarf edged in silver coins, but no luck, all the scarves were sold. For some reason I ended up with a bottle of eucalyptus oil. Back with the band, we started to set up the stage and warm up as the audience slowly filled the small auditorium. I did perform rather well even when I haven't played for years (I was extremely worried before the performance). It was strangely swapping between a rehearsal and performance the whole time.

I kept looking for Bernie, but couldn't see him, although I could see my mum, brother and nanna very clearly (which upset me, as I didn't want them there). Suddenly the curtains were closed and the audience gone, and everyone was half packed (the auditorium closed at 5, and needed half an hour to pack up).

Mr Cohen and I were discussing using Golliwogs Cake Walk (piano piece) arranged for concert band, but he thought it was too easy, so I suggested doing variations on the theme. When I continued packing up I was concerned that I seem to have been playing on a 'half' strength reed, which would mean I couldn't get to the second register, let alone high in the third (which I had got to). And I had a decent tone throughout the performance, which meant a reed strength of 2.5 at least.

It suddenly switched to an actual memory, where Adam started drumming Golden Wedding, to which I started playing the clarinet lead, surprising most of the people there (who didn't think I could do it). The whole piece actually got played, and I'm left with it stuck in my head.

Sudden switch to waiting in the (now Monash) carpark, desperately trying to avoid my family, looking for a lift. Some ex-high-school people were congratulating themselves on saving a fortune and ripping something/someone off. The rain started misting, and I was still standing in the near empty car park with all my instruments.

Finally a familiar beetle appeared, but no driver. Panicky feelings of being forgotten got worse.

Then I woke up, still with those feelings. *bah*

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Smorgasboard of nightmares

Don't you just love those nights where you wake up from one nightmare to finally get back to sleep and be dropped into another? My favourite...

I had the usual spider infestation one where they were trying to eat me, egg sacs lying around the place, baby spiders carpeting all surfaces when the sacs broke. And me armed with a can of spider-killer spray which makes me horrifically asthmatic for the rest of the day (kinda appropriate as I got asthma for the first time in months two days ago). This was as usual set in my childhood home, where there were actual white tail spider nests in the roof or under the house (I was regularly killing 2-3 semi to full grown male whitetails daily for a couple of years).

Then I had a new one where I had vertical holes (slits) in my teeth that were just getting bigger, and would probably need to be replaced with a cap. I've never had one about my teeth before. For those who knew me a long long time ago, they would have seen me with rather mottled teeth (fluoride poisoning and too many antibiotics as a toddler). I got all the front top ones faced, about the time I had 6 teeth out and a plate to straighten the top ones. My dentist died before he could do miracles on the bottom teeth. In any case, the facings always broke, especially when playing clarinet, and were expensive to fix.

So when I got my bottom wisdom teeth out, I had all the facings sanded off completely. Surprisingly once the surface of my teeth was removed as well, we found that there was no mottling - it was only on the surface. A couple of years later I was getting horrible dark lines appearing as not all of the facing had been removed, thus more sanding, which hurt this time (too much of my tooth removed?) It's nearly 6 months since I had my top wisdom teeth out, maybe it was a reminder dream to go back to the dentist?

Of course there were the usual dreams of running from people trying to kill me, probably brought on by mum being horribly manipulative. She kicked up such a stink last year when I went away for Xmas, but when I said I was probably going to Germany this year for Xmas she tried to dream up ways that Nanna would pay for it. You see, she really only wants me to get married and have kids, and a couple of sentences before (when she was hassling me about getting engaged) I mentioned that I hadn't even met Bernie's family yet. I was completely floored when she seemed happy that I would miss Xmas again - I had thought it would be a war when I mustered the courage to say I wouldn't be there.

The last nightmare was having to re-mark all of the cse1303 end of semester papers because the tutors marked opposite to the marking guide. I am planning to mark the two tests by myself, mainly as my workload should be less than full time without it. I don't think I could do that for the final exam.

I need a decent night's sleep!

Dairy Free Lemon Pudding

This recipe is adapted from my favourite lemon self-saucing pudding that uses milk and real butter (so you can substitute these with the same quantities if you want dairy). It works just as well with soy milk, and even better when served with vanilla Fruccio (soy ice-cream). I jump ahead of myself though.

Blend 1 Tbsp non-dairy butter (Nuttelex) with 3/4 c sugar. Add 1/2 c sifted self-raising flour, finely grated rind of one lemon and the juice of 2 lemons (make it real juice, please!) Seperate 2 eggs, and add 2 beaten egg yolks and 1 c soy milk to the mixture. Stiffly beat egg whites and fold carefully into the mixture. Pour into a lightly greased casserole and bake in a moderate oven (180°C or 350°F) for 30-40 minutes.

Eat ;>

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Anti-smuggler cat

A fish sniffing cat is helping to catch smugglers illegally returning with their catch from the Russian Caspian sea.

It's about time cats started taking the jobs normally reserved for dogs! Cats Rule :>

The big throwout

For the past few days (weeks?) I have had the urge to throw a lot of things out. Which I have done, or put aside to sell on ebay, or give away as presents. I've thrown out old cards, holey clothes, miscellaneous paperwork and receipts that I really don't need to keep, my old diary from early high school (without even reading through it - I know what it says, damn my extremely good long term memory), dead ink cartridges and pens, out of date food, candelabras and storage jars. You name it, I've got rid of it.

I have done my tax already (the earliest I have ever submitted it) and was majorly depressed at the expected return. I still have to pay HECS and medicare levy even though I earnt a tiny amount, and a huge amount of that went on medical expenses! Bah! The tax return did make me do one thing, fix my printer, (the heads on two black cartridges were dead, and the colour cartridge needed the black ink well refilled). But only after swearing for about an hour at the spare printer that for some reason would not eat the paper fed to it. I still haven't figured it out and re-boxed it in disgust.

I attacked a tree (really only half a tree) and have cut it up, making the dead green pile in the backyard definitely a full trailer load for the tip. It's interesting to see how independent I need to be when it comes to doing things that I should be able to do (without being in pain).

Now that the house is clean, the washing is done, the throwing out completed, there is only the garden left to prepare and the cross stitch to finish, to procrastinate. Unfortunately the garden is out in the sunny cold world (both adjectives that don't interact well with me).

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Charlies Angels 2

I enjoyed this movie immensely as the writers have stopped taking anything seriously. I think it made it funnier having seen the 'special' aired on the MTV awards. The story was pretty standard, the acting and characterisations (especially by Cameron Diaz) were brilliant, and the fight scenes (and associated special effects) were incredible. This is the first movie I had seen in a long time that had the whole cinema in laughter several times! This is definitely one to collect. (And I want Demi's hair!)

Insomnia and things....

I still haven't managed to push my body clock around to daylight hours, despite having to get up at 8:30 on Saturday to get my new insteps (which feel decidedly weird, and require new Docs to be purchased *ouch*). This is a Bad Thing (tm) as I have got 9am lectures twice a week starting in second semester which I really need to be awake for.

I have started a fortnightly course of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. The acupuncture was not nearly as bad as I had expected, and apparently I'm a perfect fit for a certain type of herbal preparation for 'cold and phlegmy' people, 12 liquorice coated little round tablets, 3 times a day. Thank goodness I can take them all at once! I was told to expect some changes in a couple of days, but so far, nothing at all.

I got a blinding headache after seeing Charlie's Angels 2, but that's standard after a movie these days, even with the new glasses (must be the flashing and the loudness). Now I need to find a decent way to trek all the way to Upwey each fortnight that doesn't send me insane (well, more so) from boredom.

I still haven't found any motivation to do honours stuff, and it's going past the desperate stage. If anyone has any tips, please let me know. At the moment I just wish I could stop studying and stop working for a while, to concentrate on health. But as my health costs so damned much, a reduction in work (and related stress) is certainly not an option.

Need to do something about my fish tank. Debbie kindly contributed an infestation of furry algae with her gift of a heater, which is impossible to get rid of and obviously unpalatable to the bristle cat. The fish are dying one by one, and I hope I don't lose any of the important ones.

Get Well Flowers

Edwina organised a bunch of flowers from the whole of CSSE, to be sent to me when I had heard the bad news about my adenomyosis, to wish me well and to cheer me up. I have finally got around to putting a picture up. Thanks Edwina and all of CSSE! It was a complete surprise and certainly did cheer me up. This is the first time I have ever received a delivery of flowers, and twas only the second bunch of get well flowers that I was given for my operation and recovery. I don't think Edwina guessed, but my favourite colour is purple, and I adore bulbs (yellow liliums in this case). The liliums lasted about two weeks, the orange gerberas and white freesias died in a couple of days though. They were gorgeous, thanks again CSSE.

Saturday, July 5, 2003

Moving site

I will be moving the non-Monash related sections to elsewhere, as Monash is cracking down on what their computers/services are being used for. So that means the personal and health sections and this blog will be moving, so all bookmarks will be broken. Not sure when it will happen, but probably soon. I'm sorry that this will inconvenience people, but I don't want to lose my job or put my advancement in jeopardy (as has happened to other Monash employees fairly recently).

Incan Binary

Apparently the Incans invented binary by tying knots on strings. Actually there are quite a few very amusing and witty (geeky and sad) jokes made on the slashdot thread.

Friday, July 4, 2003

Australian School bans HP

Witchcraft and evil are used synonymously by Bert Langerak, principal of the conservative Maranatha Christian College in Doveton and Endeavour Hills, who has banned Harry Potter from the school. He is concerned that many children have tried spells and are more accepting of witchcraft and the occult as a result of reading Rowling's books. Of course, we can't have a more accepting society, what on earth are we thinking!! But then, women are still being burned as witches. The BBC has better article about the banning, burning and shredding of Harry Potter books the world over.

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

One Giant Leap

One Giant Leap (+1 Bonus Track)

This CD is excellent, a brilliant meld of styles of music from all over the world. Very easy to listen to, wonderfully balanced mixes and speeds. I only wish the CD had the music videos to go with it, as they were brilliant (available on the 1 Giant Leap DVD). I first saw this production when it was aired on the Discovery Channel several months back, and loved the concept and music straight away.

Monday, June 30, 2003

More Stuff

We ran around yesterday, getting my shopping out of the way, and then heading out to see the new Richmond Ikea. I found it was less organised than the Moorabbin Ikea, but it had a garden section (as well as all the other standard sections). And a huge bonus, I found lucky bamboo there! So I now have 3 lucky bamboo stalks which should be very easy to care for. Then we went to Alasya again, and ate too much as usual. It was insanely busy, but the service was still good, and the food was excellent. They have freshly squeezed orange juice (for real), which was absolutely yummy. I couldn't eat many of the desserts (only the gelatinous ones), and two dips due to dairy intolerance, but the rest of the food was fine. We were going to see a movie after this, but ran out of time, and ended up watching X-Men 1.5 DVD and some of the (huge number of) extras, till we realised what the time was. Tomorrow I am finally going to go and explore the shops in Dandenong and get a yoga mat from Rebel. I've only been living up the road (well, quite a way up the road), for nearly 2 years and apart from going through it on holidays and once to the bakery, I still haven't been there.

Fighting the bull

Bullfighter is a product aimed at getting rid of (or at least making fun of) the nonsensical jargon used in business. It looks quite cute, and some of the students I teach could make use of it for CSE1304 Professional Communications and CSE1402 Technical Documentation for Software Engineers.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

More procrastination

It's amazing what I can do to procrastinate, but at least this time I have a vague excuse (pain makes thinking near impossible when on loads of codeine). In the last few weeks I have managed to learn about Feng Shui, Wicca, more about sustainable living and voluntary simplicity, update my site quite a bit (html hacking does not require thinking), read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, mark assignments for 15 hours straight, draw a picture of a hobbit hole and follow the PPC Amiga-emulator discussion on and (and I don't even speak German!).

I've worked out a comprehensive schedule, got up to date entering my finance information, caught up on email, watched TV, slept a fair amount, finished a cross stitch I had been working on for 4 years and made purple fluffy cushions. I have however, managed to completely skew my sleep cycle, and at some stage will have to roll it over to the next day so I don't sleep through the day and work (or procrastinate) during the night. I really really really need to find some motivation to do actual study as I am so far behind (and work - notes are due on Friday for printing).

A couple of dragon links

Lots of dragon information, including their many appearances in the bible. Aon Celtic art and the art of Keltia have some gorgeous Celtic knotwork and a couple of Celtic dragon images.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Breaking Down

Migraine sparklies, dead ankle, sciatica flaring up, sinusitis back straight after finishing antibiotics, fever, possible UTI, and loads of pain.... I think my body is giving up.

Cat link...

Not that I can read the stories that go with the images, but some of the images are insane enough that they don't really don't require it! Cat stories and interesting pictures (I think it's in Russian).

Finished the book...

But for those who haven't read it yet and don't want a review, I'm not going to say anything other than that I was somewhat disappointed by it. I'll post more details in several weeks. (And for those who hadn't guessed, this was about Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). Oh.. and it took me about 8 hours to read it - I did get a little sleep during the day

Saturday, June 21, 2003


Just as first semester is finally finished with, the notes for second semester sit there waiting for modifications for printing and loads of honours work has been scheduled for the break between semesters, I bleed through the pill. Murphy must be laughing very hard.

I was quickly going to get my cse467 paper finished this weekend, followed by a crazy week of updating courseware for next semester, then another paper in a week, and the final of the Lit Review. Now, all of that is probably not going to happen. I'm getting very frustrated that I can't seem to get anywhere with my honours stuff - I've fallen behind this years' students already.

Unfortunately I am likely to lose a whole week to high doses of codeine, pain, warmth and sleep (brain shutdown). Although some of it sounds nice (specifically the warmth and sleep part), it usually takes me quite a while after the week of insane amounts of pain to get back to normal enough to think about writing.


nifwlseirff on flickr
I finally have finished a cross-stitch I have been working on for 4 years. This is the first one I have completed in over 6 years, and I'm going to get it framed, hopefully next week (with a 10% off voucher courtesy of Debbie - Thanks!). I still need to wash it, and hope like crazy the colours don't run. It is titled "The Teddy Bear Reunion" and is published by LeisureArts.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Marking done, now for 2nd semester

For some reason, the final marking took a hell of a lot longer than last year, I spent a good 15 hours straight marking 11 groups. The other markers have noticed it too, and we can't figure it out why, whether the standard has dropped, or the reports/sites were longer? Or we just couldn't get into a rhythm? Don't know. But I am so glad it's done, it was a nightmarish job. Now I just need to re-do the notes, pracs and tutes for next semester's programming subject. First year computer science will be getting an overhaul for next year (where it runs in all three semesters) so it won't be changed too much, however I am determined to change the tutes and pracs somewhat as the incidence of cheating has sky-rocketed this year.

We will be using an online cheater checker for the pracs and Debbie is considering making participation in the tutes worth marks and attendance at 80% of the tutorials a hurdle. I'm not looking forward to next semester (I've still somehow to complete my honours project and another 6 point honours subject around the teaching commitments and health crap).

Monday, June 16, 2003


I find it very interesting how fads work. I have witnessed two surges in the popularity of wicca, feng shui, aromatherapy and other natural therapies (and related new age shops). However, after the huge wicca boom when Charmed and Buffy were new, interest has once again waned, and it's not profitable to stock those items (or keep those shops open). I am told that Yoga and self-help are the current topics of interest. Only a couple of items remain constant in those shops - incense, essential oils and pretty stones/crystals. Candle fads also seem to come and go. I found it difficult to find even taper candles at Chadstone recently (and nothing in green!). I love candles, and don't like it when I'm running low, so am quite annoyed that I can't stock up easily and cheaply. However, large, ugly pillar candles are all the rage, as long as they are sitting in glass hurricane lamps with some kind of sand or stones to stabilise them at the base. *grrrrr* I want my candles.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Dairy free quiche

As the title suggests, I can't eat dairy, and wanted to make something that I could eat for a party recently, and so modified a quiche recipe. I am able to eat sheep and goat milk products, but cheeses from these sources are typically very strong, salty and quite different from cows milk cheese. It takes some getting used to, but you can't taste any difference in this quiche.

Dairy Free Quiche

about 1.5 cups flour a couple of teaspoons of nuttelex (or butter)

some soy milk

sauteed vegies (any combination of onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, spinach)

finely chopped sauteed bacon (optional, but tastes sooooo much better)

a handful of grated sheep's cheese

4-5 free range eggs (they taste better)

some soy milk


0.5 tsp mustard (seeded is better)


2-3 tbsp plain flour

Rub the butter into the flour using a fork till it resembles breadcrumbs (don't use hands), pour in a little soy milk, and smush into a dough (not too sticky and not to dry). Wrap dough in plastic and put in fridge for several hours. Roll out dough and put in a very flat and wide quiche flan with removable bottom, being careful to not get any tears. Push into edges and corners. Sprinkle a small amount of cheese over base, and put sauteed vegies and bacon over cheese. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Whisk together eggs, flour, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, mustard and some soy to make an egg custard. Pour over vegies. Place sliced tomato (best) and/or mushrooms on the top. (If the mushrooms are arranged around the edges it seems to stop it flowing over the edge). Bake in a medium oven (350F/180C) for 30-40 minutes or until set.

To get a crunchier base, pre-bake base for 5-10 minutes.

Best served warm with salad in my opinion. Serves 8-10.

Head and Feet

I'm not sure what my triggers are for migraines, but I seem to be getting them weekly. It could be stress, food, or general weather. However, I do feel like I am getting a cold and just got new glasses, which my eyes are still getting used to. So, marking of assignments is being done while under the influence of pain and lots of strong pain-killers.

I saw the podiatrist today, who seemed very competent, and who personally knows 2 people with endometriosis in very strangest places (eyebrow cavity and knee). Having endometriosis anywhere other than pelvis is extremely rare. Anyhow, my feet are weird (duh... just like the rest of me), and my back problems/turned in knees and hips apparently aren't caused by my feet (like other podiatrists have told me). She also had no idea why I had a lump in my previous set of insteps. I don't know who to believe any more.

My current insteps also are 'off the shelf' whereas I was told they were made 'specially for me' and paid for it too, through the public system. The podiatrist I received them from is no longer in business, so I can't chase that (and don't have the spare energy to do so). 2 weeks till I get my new insteps, sculpted in metal and foam from a plaster cast, and 2 weeks till the podiatrist rips my insoles out of my lovely Asics sneakers to fit the insteps.

*bah* My next major purchases will be new doc martens and sneakers, once I get my bills/loans down a bit.

Friday, June 13, 2003

Cheesecake numminess

I can't personally vouch for this recipe, as it contains dairy, and lots of it. I am on a dairy-free diet as it helps with pain management, but those who ingested the resulting cake assured me it was delicious. It uses light cream cheese and not much sugar as the birthday mum is diabetic. (Note - I do not measure things)

Strawberry/Raspberry Cheesecake

Take a packet granita biscuits and process to fine-ish crumbs. Melt enough butter to hold the crumbs together and not let any cheesecake mixture through and mix with the crumbs (use a microwave for this). Push biscuit base into springform tin and set in fridge for about 3 hours or more.

Process 2 packets of light philly cream cheese till very smooth. Add a couple of soup spoonfuls of light sour cream, the same amount of cream, about 2 tsp of vanilla essence (the real thing) and process till mixed. Add a little raw caster sugar (Why raw? It tastes better) Probably about 1 tbsp. Process again. Boil water, put 3-4 tsp gelatine in a jug, add enough boiling water to dissolve it. Let it cool a bit (don't put it in the fridge!) and pour into cheesecake mixture blending continuously. Keep blending for a bit. Pour cheesecake mixture into chilled base.

In a blender or bowl (to be mixed with a hand blender) put a large handful of strawberries (de-greened) and several spoonfuls of canned raspberries (without too much syrup). Blend until there are no lumps of berry to be seen. Pour berry mixture into cheesecake and create a swirly marble effect with a knife, being careful not to disturb the crust. (Note: this results in a creamy, not quite set, swirled berry layer on top of a set vanilla cheesecake layer. If you want swirliness all the way through, you could try adding the berries and cheesecake mix to a bowl, mixing ever so slightly and pouring into the base).

Set in fridge for a long time (overnight). Serve with a bit of extra whipped cream and fresh strawberries.