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CS monthly photos

CS monthly photos

The Blogosphere

The Blogosphere









Artworks by Florent Diverchy of WordsnClouds, with gratitude

Weekly Photo Challenge: Zigzag

This week, share a photo that foregoes the straightforward in favor of the twisting and winding.
BCCs. Know about ’em ? I do. Now. I had a punch biopsy followed fairly shortly by facial surgery, a couple of years ago.

I also know about melanomas, as I had one of those chopped out of the middle of my back more recently. But I’ve had two six-monthly checks since then, with nothing else showing up. They tell me it’s a result of having spent my childhood on the beach.

Here is what not having BCCs any more looks like – fairly zigzag, but it’s a happy ending.     :-)


Coffee break ?

Someone whose posts I follow decided on a really simple one today (oh – I believe it’s still yesterday with most of you … no matter).

As I said to her, it reminded me that there’s something I would be absolutely fascinated to know: the way in which we all make our coffee …

This is a simple coffeepot like the one in the graphic on Sharifah’s post. I believe you put the grounds in and pour boiling water over, letting it steep.

This is the Bialetti-type coffee-maker: the ground beans are above the water, which is forced up through them to pool as coffee in the top part. Most Italians use one of these !

This is an electric dripolator. It is standard in all French gîtes, alas ! But Stringer would use about four times the amount of coffee, and then fill up with milk heated on the stove. Pas mal !

The plunger is very popular. I am occasionally prepared to drink plunger coffee …

This is the simplest system for ground coffee beans: the plain filter – used a lot in offices.

We used to have one of these when I was growing up: it was called a “percolator” (the cutaway shows you how it works), and kept in the dining-room sideboard until we had guests.

Yesss !!! – the domestic espresso machine. It makes easily the best coffee you can expect to produce at home (especially if it’s a Gaggia Classic !). I will ALWAYS drink espresso machine coffee.
That’s the lot – well, that I know about or have come into contact with, as it were.

Addenda: I did miss out on (at least !) two other kinds of coffee-makers – the hand plunger and the capsule coffee maker.
As the AeroPress (on the left) is never going to be able to be reduced to the same height as all the others, there no point my firing up the WinXP computer and trying any Corel PhotoPaint work on this pair, so here they are in all their unmatchingness. Sighh … It’s hard being an obsessive.

The shorter one is something I’ve actually laid hands on – a capsule coffee-maker. Linda calls it a ‘Keurig’, but that’s just one of the brands on the market (the Nespresso is another one, of course).

I am beginning to wonder if there’s any other thing one consumes that is furnished with so many ways to produce it !

Discounting anyone who sniffs and says “I don’t drink coffee !”, I’d love to learn about the way you make yours …

CS monthly photo #10

It was 2002 … In Montalcino we stayed at a B&B, very expensively restauro-ed. Its owners started out lovely, but rapidly changed character when we had – foolish me ! – a discussion that led to the imminent Italian elections …

La signora, having raved enthusiastically about Silvio Berlusconi and finding us less than agreeable on the topic, then professed complete scepticism that either of us had the faintest clue about Italian politics. Stringer sat back admiringly as I let fly with more than a few facts, and joined in where he was as clued-up as I. When we’d finished and done a mental dusting off of hands, we were feeling pretty damned pleased with ourselves, I can tell you !

Things between them and us remained chilly for the next two days. Fortunately we had many places to go to and even laundry to do (“even” ???); and saw them only at breakfast – which was very nice, it is to be admitted.     :-)

This super shot is taken from the gates of Montalcino, which were used to great effect during the European plagues of the Middle Ages – and you can still see many ‘graffiti’ on them that were scratched/carved in by the poor bastards who traipsed all the way up the hill seeking to be saved, and found only gates immutably closed …

I did tell you, did I not ?, that we were only in Europe in shoulder seasons; and this time it was autumn. Hence the bloody farmers burning off and causing the natural early morning fog to turn into smog. They were probably Berlusconi supporters …


The NFSA (apparently) makes changes

(I have appended pissed-off kind of comments to the bottom of this article in “The Conversation”.)

Australia’s National Film & Sound Archive has been hit by TROWC’s mindless and petty removal of funds, as has every other worthy organization in the country; so its boffins have been forced to Take Steps Of One Kind Or Another.

This is the archive where I took a great deal of trouble to have housed those of Chic’s stills I could source, in order that he be forever a recorded part of the Oz film industry.

So you might comprehend that it gives me the shits in a big way to find that the NFSA has been holding public meetings around the capitals – of which I knew nothing whatsoever. I am even a reader of its blogsite, but I learned nought of these meetings via any medium.

Pfuh !

In my day, academics had no interest in the film industry, and we did pretty well without ’em. I’m prepared to give them some place now – especially seeing that I’m so far away from it ! – but am nevertheless somewhat disturbed by their ubiquity …


Indian women in the kitchen !

I follow many cooking / recipe / food / chef’s blogs, and regularly come across recipes that are commendably and deliciously vegetarian (my UK mate Elaine, for instance, is simply vegetarian, like me).

Of late, however – in fact, within about the last ten days – I’ve discovered three new ones to drool over, and they are ALL Indian. And the attraction Indian cooking has for me is that it’s very largely vegetarian, and full of flavour. I like the Indian spices that seem to be the most preponderant – cumin, coriander (I can eat it dried and pounded), brown mustard, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom and chilli. (Chili …?)

I do realize that Indian cuisine (or whatever is the word in Hindi) comprises several regional areas and differences; but there is an undeniable element of … um … over-all similarity. It is indeed a broad church, Indian food; but vegetarianism is common to all its followers.

The three sites found lurking in the blogosphere are as follows, in order of their discovery by me:

and all present recipes that have my jaw dropping and my greedy piggy little eyes popping. (OK, I will admit this is quite an easy thing to achieve …)


Herein followeth my whinge: entirely unjustifiable and egocentric, as well as being based on so narrow a client-base that— well, you’ll see.

As you know,

  • I live on my own.
  • In a small flat.
  • With almost no storage space (I had to buy a double-door cupboard to use as a pantry).
  • With two friends in Sydney.
  • And my income is the age pension.
"Four Seasons Magazine"

“Four Seasons Magazine”

This list adds up to the facts that I cannot buy any ingredient I want whenever it pops its head up above the lintel of a chef’s ingredients list; and this is because I will scarcely ever get to use it enough to warrant either its cost or the space it will take to store it.

So things like saffron threads are out of the question, for starters. And I am having to ask this unfortunate trio endless questions like “is tikka masala paste the stuff you’d normally make curry with ? – and will I use it much if I buy some ?” –

As to why I post this whinge, I believe it’s because I hope to reach out to them IN ADVANCE, if you get my drift: to alert them to the fact that every time they post one of these utterly divine dishes, I am going to have to put the questions like “is chaat masala something I’d use fairly often ?” –, or “any idea where I can get tamarind paste ?” –

Having me follow you is not guaranteed to make your life easy – not in any way. The photog.s get comments about the content of their shots rather than the shots themselves; and the cooks are now used to being grilled (oh ! – unintentional pun !) about aspects of their recipes; the travellers have become reluctantly used to being told about where *I*’ve been; and the poets sigh and roll their eyes when receiving comments about the foot, or length of the lines, or whatever.

One day I might turn into a nice person and STOP COMMENTING !     [grin]

I love youse all – especially these three clever ladies, right now …

About four weeks left to go !

This is my excited face !

Wot ? – you don’t think I look all that excited ? That must be because I can’t even take a decent shot with my webcam. Put a camera of any sort in my charge, and you get crap. Voilà.

Well, you’ll just have to believe me: I’m bloody excited, OK ?!!

On August 23rd, Doctor Who‘s new Doctor will be seen in the first of the new series. Peter Capaldi, YAAAAAAAAAAAAAYY !!!

Stringer and I used to watch re-screened old episodes, back in … oh, I think it would’ve been around ’75 (both of us recalled watching it when Oz first got television – his side of the country much earlier than my then side). I never at any time saw the original Doctor, but from Troughton to Baker, almost every episode.

That, for reasons I can’t recall, was it: every other Doctor from Davison to McCann was completely unknown to the Stringers. I can’t honestly say I gave or give a damn, either.     :-|

It was Chic who discovered The Doctor’s reappearance in the shape of Christopher Ecclestone in 2005. Chic had long been diagnosed with cancer, so he wasn’t active and watched much more TV than previously; and this meant his scanning the weekly program – something neither of us used to do.

We were instantly drawn into it: what early Doctor Who fans could resist the wonderful new CGI fx ? And although we were both rapidly shat off by Eccleston’s CONSTANT utterance, “Fantastic !”, we loved the storylines.

And then …

Ah. Deep sigh … A bloke who took it seriously, and put his heart and soul into it. Easily the best Doctor ever. Terrific storylines. A series of wonderful companions – every one of them. David Tennant can never be overtaken by anyone in my affections.

But now ! – another real actor, and a mature man ! Someone I hold in huge esteem as a performer – even though friends say it’s because of his ‘Malcolm’ performances and the similarity of our language: only watch this if you’re feeling strong (and I’m not as bad as he is !). And if you care to read this article in “The Guardian” about his first interview on the rôle, you’ll see perhaps why I’m excited: it’s the bit about no-more-OTT-scripts. I have posted a comment that will help you understand all.

Try this one, too: but I fear they haven’t published my comment. Must be because I was horrible enough to include “WTF ??” in it, eh ?

Very short post (of puzzlement)

I have three times over the last two days found  myself reading the phrase “lucked out” within blogs, both in posts and in comments. What puzzles me beyond measure that is on all three occasions it’s been used in the sense of someone’s being LUCKY !

The phrase doesn’t mean lucky: it means that you missed out on luck.

Where has this totally erroneous interpretation come from, and why recently ?


Addendum:  Rather than respond individually to everyone, here is my explanation. The phrase means my version – the exact opposite of Americans’ – in England, and I grew up reading English books. Amazing, then, that I came across your version only now !


I cried … and laughed !

Do you know about Sir Nicholas Winton ?

I didn’t – not till I read a story from “Open Culture” just now.

Again, it’s roughly a quarter of an hour long, but in my opinion – of course, a humble one ! – well worth the time, when you can find some.

This is in fact a “60 Minutes” segment from the US program, and is very well done. The technical quality of the YouTube video could be a lot better; but hey, who’s complaining …?

And this link is a kind of sequel (prequel ? – aucune idée !).

Possibly the worst aspect of TROWC

The tiny little shit George Brandis is our Attorney-General. He is absolutely representative of TROWC: spends nearly all his time looking smug and what’s left over looking righteously angry. (Everything TROWC does is done righteously, btw …)

The cartoon the above link takes you to is sort of funny.

But it’s far more frightening, because in fact it’s absolutely true. The tiny little shit is gradually closing down everyone.

Well, everyone with any sort of clout. Happily, I don’t have any.

Re-blog of re-blog: is this allowed ?

A blogging mate of mine, over at Seeking my Lost Voice, who is going through some testing times at the moment, posted a re-blog today.

I was so enamoured of it that I simply HAD to re-blog that ! – but I didn’t want to think of what images I might end up with in my Media Library after not one but two re-blogs, so I decided simply to give you the link.

Many of you are aware of my … ahhh … non-religious proclivities, so will not be surprised by it.

I am impressed because the article is in the language of the ordinary person – me ! – and not in academic or quasi-academic phraseology. This bloke writes it like it is, imnsho.

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