HomeEc101 – Dessert

November 30, 2006 by  
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This post has been a long time coming (six months!).

Kate offered to do ‘snacks’ for a weekend youth camp that we otherwise weren’t involved with, or attending.

We were required to provide much more food than we had initially expected, and stayed up till 1.30am finishing the cook-a-thon. This is a brief story, in pictures, of that evening.

Click here to see the full gallery, with mostly the same pictures.

The tools were ready.

The ingredients were ready.

And Ariel was getting worried about what exactly was going on.

Once we got into it there was quality melting chocolate,

and cheap melting chocolate that just looks wrong, but otherwise was great.

Once the melting had been done,

the ingredients mixed,

and cookies ready to bake,

there were beaters, spoons, and bowls aplenty to be “cleaned”. Mmmmm.

It was all a bit rich though, so some anti-sweeteners were required. Milk and pear had to suffice.

One scoop for the mix, one scoop for Dave. One scoop for the mix, one scoop for Dave.

Jam-drops (pre-cooked), fudge, and chocolate coconut slice were all there too.

The caramel slice needed a base, some caramel, and chocolate over the top!

But it just wouldn’t set in the fridge, ending up in disaster. Oh well, two caramel slices that had to be eaten with a spoon. I wouldn’t recommend it.

Of course, there’s always washing up to do to end the whole process.

Uni Results

November 29, 2006 by  
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Alright, university results came out today and these are mine. 7 is a top mark.

Dave’s Results – Semester 2, 2006
Course Grade
COMU1002 Intercultural Communication 6
HIST2400 Medieval Civilisation – The Foundations 4
HIST2401 Christians, Muslims and Jews in the Middle Ages 6
POLS2510 International Peacekeeping 4
COMU3223 Mass Media and Society 5
GPA (Grade Point Average) 5

As already mentioned, I’m particularly lucky to have passed all five subjects. Now that’s out of the way, it’s time to start thinking about next year.

My White Ribbon

November 25, 2006 by  
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As part of the campaign to stop violence against women, mentioned in the last post, you can wear a white ribbon. This is mine.

Stop Violence Against Women

Today is also the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

As this post is published, I will be wearing the ribbon while we are out watching Pirates of Penzance, although while wearing some more appropriate clothing for the occassion. I suppose we’re going to the opera, since it’s presented by Opera Australia, although I’m sure it would be classified as a musical.

I may write a review of the show if I find the time in my schedule, busy as it is in this post-exam period.

White Ribbon Day

November 25, 2006 by  
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Today is White Ribbon Day.

From the Amnesty site:

White Ribbon Day is the largest effort by men around the world, working in partnership with women, to end men’s violence against women.

White Ribbons are worn by men who are encouraging all men to speak out against violence towards women. They are also worn by many women who support the initiative.

Wearing a White Ribbon is an undertaking not to commit or condone violence against women and children and to challenge practices and assumptions that enable violence to occur.

There is also White Ribbon Day.org.au

Also, from the Bureau of Statistics:

Since the age of 15, an estimated 3,065,800 women in Australia have experienced violence – 29% of these women had experienced physical assault and 17% had experienced sexual assault.

Australian Bureau of Statistics: Personal Safety Survey Australia (2006)

That’s a lot.

Lorenzo Natali Prize

November 24, 2006 by  
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Are you a journalist in the developing world? More importantly, are you a journalist in the developing world who reports on human rights and democracy?

Maybe not, since a lot of developing world governments might not look too favourably on people highlighting repression, whether it be of human rights or democracy.

But if you are, look out for the LORENZO NATALI PRIZE!

Submit your stories and, should you win, the EU will give you some cash for putting your life on the line.

Outstanding Ash

November 23, 2006 by  
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I suspect they’re putting something in the water at Ashgrove State School. Driving by today, their school notice billboard now reads, “Congrats – Primary video production – 2nd place in Australia”.

It’s either something in the water or their information technology teachers, who provide a weekly computer education lesson for each class, are good. Very good. At least good enough for one of them to receive a Smart Classrooms ICT Teacher award.

Oh, and you can read all about the history of the school, if you like. They could market a t-shirt at their next school fete.

A.S.S. : established in 1877!

Google Books updated

November 23, 2006 by  
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Google Books, used to search and read books online, has been updated with new functions, including:

  • Zoom
  • Adjustable page-views: double, single or even full-screen (within your browser)
  • Scrolling
  • Related books, as well as related citations from Google Scholar

Read all about it at the Google Blog, or just head straight to Google Books and start searching.

What’s in a name?

November 21, 2006 by  
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Ashgrove State School, mentioned yesterday, is set up for use on polling days for elections. As I happened to be living nearby for a few months when I was 20, I meandered down the street on the Saturday election morning and into the school grounds.

Having run the gauntlet of oppositional volunteers waving how-to-vote pamphlets at me, I approached the second wave of volunteers, this time sitting at desks checking voter registration. My intense concentration on the next hurdle made me feel like I was in slow motion when, clearly a few seconds later, my brain registered that someone had just said my name.

I glanced around, not immediately recognising anyone, before noticing a stationary figure amongst the moving people, his eyes definitely looking at me.

I studied the shaven head and familiar goatee – a small, blonde, triangle that clung to the chin. “Mr Welsh?” I queried.

After a brief conversation, the contents of which I’ve entirely forgotten, I cast my vote and was on my merry way. I was thoroughly impressed that my teacher from the one year at Ashgrove, in Grade 5 when I was 10 years old, recognised me and knew me by name 10 years later.

On a related tangent, something I’d never thought of before writing this post is that the school’s acronym is particularly unfortunate. I don’t remember it ever being an issue when I was in Grade 5, when quite clearly it should have been a running joke for the school’s entire history.

School 2.0

November 20, 2006 by  
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Driving the quiet streets of Brisbane in the last week, two school notice billboards caught my attention.

The first, from Our Lady of the Assumption in Enoggera, told how the Year Fours were almost done with their podcasts. Podcasts! My first thought is simply, “Cool.” Then logic kicks in and I think, “Wait, is that really important? Shouldn’t they be doing grammar or mathematics or something?” And then, finally, I kick logic in the teeth and say, “Learning the skills needed to work in a multimedia environment is probably the most important training those kids can get, and at such a young age, they’re off to a good start!” You’ve got to give credit to the teacher who came up with that project. The Year Four page at the school’s site doesn’t yet show the podcasts, but I’ll be keen to check them out if they do post them.

The second billboard was from the primary school I attended during my only year of primary education in Australia, Ashgrove State School. They took out Primary first place in the best web-based student newspaper category for their Kid’s eZine. It’s fairly basic in design and writing, with most of the stories about 100 words in length, but a great achievement for 6-10 year olds! My only suggestion to them would be to put dates on their stories so people know how current they are. My favourite story was one about Ashgrove sports teams written by four of the boys. In it they ask the question, why do Ashgrove sports teams achieve so much? The answer, they decide, is that “the coaches don’t yell, they encourage their teams with firm but quiet talk.” Great stuff.

This sort of information on school noticeboards is much more interesting than the usual “Congratulations Jack and Jane – State Finals”. Apart from Jack and Jane who may get a sense of pride seeing their name by a main road, the general public haven’t learnt much about any of the school’s (possibly) great programs. These boards actually caught my attention and made me interested in what the kids were achieving, underscored by what’s obviously an interesting and fun program. And what they’re doing is great. As I said before, giving young children practical training in a multimedia environment is setting them up for the future.

UPDATE: The title of the post, School 2.0, refers to the now commonly used term Web 2.0, the “supposed second generation of Internet-based services … that emphasize online collaboration and sharing among users” (from Wikipedia).

President ’08 – Decided

November 20, 2006 by  
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The poll for President of the United States, 2008, has closed. I was one of the four who had already voted, but the ballot needed to be decided, so I cast a second deciding vote. It wasn’t the same as my first vote, but if exit polls at the earley edition are anything to go by, and I assure you they are, Oprah Winfrey will lead the United States forward after the 2008 elections!

Here are the final results

[poll=4]

Easy on the inseam!

November 17, 2006 by  
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I am a fairly short person, about 175cm (5’8″) if I’m lucky. My family is short. We are a vertically challenged, stocky, German peasant sort of people. My wife is also short so, unless we get a genetic mutation, our offspring are likely to carry on being short. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Jockeys are always in demand, and the low center of gravity makes short people harder to knock over, particularly if they’re stocky. Which I am.

As vertically challenged people, it can be difficult to find pants that fit to length. Generally in Australia pants are bought on waist size only, unlike in the US where you can choose both waist and leg measurements. This has particularly been a problem for me recently when buying new jeans that are so long as to almost trip me up.

Store assistant groping mannequin

Buying my last pair of jeans was an adventure in itself – at least for the store assistants pictured above – since the last pair my size had to be removed from the mannequin.

Unhemmed Jean leg

Note Exhibit A: a pair of jeans flowing well past my heel, and half way around my foot. Flares may be making a comeback, but I think this is taking it a little too far. So what can be done? Dry-cleaners offer a hemming service, but $15-$20? I think not!

When we were married Kate’s mum gave us an old Singer sewing machine. It sat unused until recently, when I decided something had to be done once and for all about my jean predicament. Note that since about the age of 14 while living at home I had to wash and iron my own clothes, as well as sew my own buttons back on. Yes, a modern day Oliver Twist, if you will.

And so I searched hither and dither on the internet for instructions on how to hem jeans. I seemed to have hit the jackpot at one forum where they talked of the hem tutorial to end all hem tutorials. But, alas, they noted the link had been taken down, and so the search continued.

Never fear, Fig and Plum referenced the very same tutorial (obviously it was a good one), but had also saved the Word document! (DaciaRay.com also created a tutorial with pictures although the following tutorial is the one I used. And so, here, I present to you the document “Hemming Jeans Like a Pro”. You can also get it as a PDF if you prefer, although the file size is much bigger.

WordDocumentIconHemming Jeans Like a Pro.doc (0.2mb)
PDFDocumentIcon Hemming Jeans Like a Pro.pdf (2.1mb)

And so, having followed the instructions as best I could, you can see the results for yourselves.

Hemmed Jean Leg

Exhibit B: hemmed jeans, well-hemmed, if I say so myself.

Return next week for Home Economics 101, as I present to you, cooking with Dave. Or more accurately, cooking with Kate, with pictures and taste-testing by Dave.

Presidential Elections ’08

November 17, 2006 by  
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Voting is still open for President of the United States, 2008 (see the sidebar). Currently four votes have been counted, one each going to Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, John Edwards and Oprah Winfrey. It’s starting to look like a Democratic candidate runoff, but they’ve all demanded a recount.

Cast your vote today! Polling closes Sunday night.

The Fleetfooted Emmitt

November 17, 2006 by  
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I’m sure my family, a large part of the Dallas Cowboys fan-base, will be happy to hear that Emmitt Smith has won the US version of Dancing with the Stars.

Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones had this to say:

Although we are all thrilled, we should not be surprised. … If Emmitt Smith is on your team, there is a good chance you are going to win.

Preach it brother. More importantly though, for a man whose quick footwork allowed him to dance around opponents on the field to an all-time rushing record in the NFL, that he would be able to dance a mean rhumba shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. Admittedly there may have been as much running over the top of opponents as there was quickstepping around them, but the activity still lends itself to creating a better dancer than Molly Meldrum was in the Australian version.

A-League numbers

November 16, 2006 by  
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The Hyundai A-League, Australia’s top football league – the round ball type – is in its second year, and doing well. Quite apart from the games, which I hear are of a high quality but to my shame I have supported my local team at none of them, the all-important dollar signs have also shown improvement this year.

From the A-League site:

  • Crowd numbers have increased 8.25% (536,976 up to Round 11 compared with 492,716 as the same point of last season)
  • Hyundai A-League club membership numbers are approximately 34,000 in total, an amazing increase of 70%.
  • Broadcast viewer numbers have increased a massive 32.2% at the same round last year.
  • Hyundai A-League merchandise sales have also increased 20%

It’s the incoming money and public interest that will keep the league going, and lead to better quality coaching staff and players being attracted here, not the other way around I think. So hopefully people keep choosing to spend some of their disposable income on football.

Last Exam

November 15, 2006 by  
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I’m off to my last exam for the year, an 8am start for International Peacekeeping. I’m not entirely confident, but hopefully I’ll be able to ‘common-sense’ my way through it. At least it’s only five short hours until I’m done for this year!

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