Friday, February 26, 2010

I Survived

Well, have you ever felt the planets aligned for you, well it seemed to happen Wednesday. As my previous blog said i was being interviewed by Carol Duncan on 1233ABC Newcastle about why I blog.

I wasn't at all sure how it was going to pan out as the Green Egg has a tendency to put on a show the moment the phone rings. Carol had told me to expect a call at 1:30. I can't believe how nervous I was getting, not about talking on radio, I had been interviewed before by Aaron Kearney before Trailwalker. What I was worried about was how the Green Egg would react.

Well as time got closer I was trying to work out my plan, I hadn't organised with the inlaws as they wouldn't understand, but something else happened. A real estate agent called telling me he had gone to another real estate agency, the Green Egg didn't notice.

About 5 minutes later the other real estate agency rang wanting to advise me that their rep had left, i pretty much said ok and that was the end of the conversation. This was a short conversation but the repercussions were monumental. I hung up and the Green Egg started a massive tantrum, she wanted to talk on the phone. Nothing would settle her so i rang her pop.

Pop was no good, Pop decided to come over and take her to Nan who was good enough.

Bonus, empty house for the interview, although i did fear her coming back in the middle of th interview.

Well the phone rang at 1:30 and i I was on. We talked for ages, Carol is so easy to talk to. I almost forgot I was talking on the radio. I hope I sounded alright, always worried i might sound like a tool. We covered using twitter, trailwalker, pretty much all my blog posts from my mum, my experience with taking my daughter to the toilet, then the main topic- Sci Fi.

Thankyou Carol for an enjoyable interview you are a true professional and it was a pleasure to be on your show.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Recipes Part 1

One of my loves is cooking. I have cooked for years, ever since high school. I'd like to share with you some of my family favourites

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni (Green Snakes 1)

This is an oldie, but a goodie. My eldest used to call this green snakes from when she was able to firstly speak. She would eat this even when she was going through her fussiest stages. The ingredients are simple.

1 tub of Ricotta Cheese
1 packet of frozen spinach defrosted (or a bunch of english spinach washed, chopped and wilted)
1 packet of home brand cheese sauce made up to instructions (or if you have the time make your own bechamel sauce)
grated cheese to taste
1 packet of dry pasta canelloni or 1 packet of fresh lasagne sheets

  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. Spray Pyrex dish with cooking spray
  3. in a dish combine the ricotta with spinach and grated cheese(about a handfull or to taste), mix well so no lumps of spinach ither
  4. fill dry pasta canelloni with mixture, or cut lasagne sheets in half, fill one end with mixture and roll like a sausage roll
  5. Place canelloni into pyrex dish, side by side. May need to do 2 layers
  6. Top with cheese sauce so all pasta is covered.
  7. Top finally with remaining grated cheese
  8. Cook for approx 30 minutes
  9. Enjoy
Meat Sauce

Never fails, this can be made in bulk lots and can be precooked and frozen, used in both lasagne or spaghetti bolognaise

500g of beef mince
1 clove of garlic or 1tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp of Tomato Paste
1 tin of Tomatoes or fresh is better(i still have frozen home grown tomatoes)
Vegetable stock to taste
swig of balsamic vinegar (don't knock until you taste it with this in it)
shake or 2 of mixed herbs
  1. Brown mince making sure no large lumps
  2. once brown combine all ingredients
  3. add water and simmer until all combined and uniform colour
  4. serve on top of cooked pasta or add to lasagne

Lasagne (Meat or Spinach and Ricotta (Green Snakes 2))


Pasta sheets (either dry or fresh)

Cheese sauce (packet or home made)

Grated cheese

Filling- either spinach and ricotta or meat (see above)

  1. in a pyrex dish add meat sauce or spinach and ricotta
  2. top with pasta sheets
  3. add cheese sauce to coat pasta
  4. repeat 1 to 3 until run out of ingredients
  5. top with grated cheese
  6. cook for approximately 30 minutes
  7. Enjoy

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Carol wants to know why I Blog

twas the night before I speak to carol
when all through the house
not a creature was stirring
It's just my keyboard and mouse
Carol Duncan has asked me to discuss why i Blog and will be talking to me at 1:30pm Wednesday.
To give a bit of a background I am married with 2 lovely girls, my wife works full time at the local energy company in their call centre, I work part time nights in a call centre and finish at 11 at night as well I am a part time therapeutic and remedial massage therapist to some private clients.
During the day I am a "stay at home dad" where I care for my youngest (the green egg- see earlier post) as well as general duties around the house which consisits of forever cleaning, resolving arguements between my two girls as well as tantrums, cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing, you know the drill and then in my spare time i get to do the outside jobs as well.
After work is my sanctuary, the whole family is asleep, I have talked non-stop for 5 hours and it is time to take stock, it's not easy to go straight to bed as i am still wide awake until about 1:30am. It's also "me " time which i don't get during the day. All those creative juices come out when I have time to think. I am not a professional writer so excuse the occasional spelling mistake, I am not being paid for my posts (not that that is a bad thing) and I'm not here to push products or services on you.
I originally started up this blog over 12 months ago, but didn't have any inspiration to do anything with it. It was only just recently that i found the inspiration to start blogging. It was the impending anniversary of the black saturday fires. I wanted to put up a tribute to a lost friend, Nicole Jefferson.
This has inspired me to post more and more. I have so many posts on the go, some on the way, some just ideas just in my head. These are mainly observations, family things, parenting from a dad's point of view, opinions and also memories. There's no specific topic I am talking about.I have much to get out so give me time, give me time.
I am also inspired by all those bloggers out there, through twitter and listening to the ABC I have come to find other bloggers. There are so many stories to be told, some heartwarming, some informative, some funny and then there's the truely sad stories. It takes courage to open up so publically.
I write because i have something to say, If you like what i have to say, please pass me a comment, I welcome it. I feel I need to get it out there, whether anyone reads it, I am not concerned.
I hope you enjoy my blog, i hope you find something that you like. I hope i don't disapoint in today's interview. We will also be talking about an earlier post, why i love Sci Fi

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Melburnian in Newcastle- a guide

When i met my wife who was from Newcastle we made the decision to move here eventually. As our daughter was about to turn 3 we finally made the decision to make the move, not an easy feat as it's a move of over 1000kms.

While both newcastle and melbourne are both part of australia, i thought i might mention a few differences that struck me and i had to make some adjustments.

These are not complaints, just observations. As the phrase goes, when in rome, do what the romans do. I love this city, and not it's not sydney.

Place Names

  • Victoria has Pakenham Upper and Launching place but NSW has Tumbi Umbi and Kangy Angy.
  • NSW says Castle as if it was Carstle unlike the castle in Castlemane
  • Places like Merriwa is pronounce merri-war, or Wauchope- war-hope. Then there is the "i" in pace names is pronounced as eye not like in victoria which you would pronounce as a "ee" sound.
  • People living in Newcastle call themselves Novocastrians
  • When they say the Bay they mean Nelson Bay
Other curiosities

  • there is no compulsory or structred preschool program, what is called Kindergarten in Vic is called preschool here but you have to pay for it as childcare.
  • What victorians call Prep is called Kinder (the first year at school) which is really confusing when having an interstate conversation.
  • Primary school is called Public school and Secondary college is called High school and year 12 still does the HSC here.
  • the equivalent term for a Divvy van is a Paddy Wagon
  • when pulled over by a police officer, no it's not the police officer from the village peopl, the leather cap is a serious, official peice of uniform.
  • In melbourne the beaches are, well lets face it flat, most beaches here face the ocean which means they are equivalent to a back beach, Lake macquarie the water is similar to the bay beaches.

Food and drink

  • Don't ask for a potato cake, they are called scallops (my wife once ordered a scallop in melbourne and she got a real one much to her horror)
  • Also on fast food, being a fan of steamed dim sims, I was disappointed as there are only the fried variety available.
  • You can't buy flake in NSW
  • Safeway (which is on it's way out in Vic) is owned by Woolworths(since the 1980's) and here it is referred to as Woolies.
  • Beer here is sold in cases, not slabs and obviously.

Roads, Rules and Registration

  • You may notice there seems to be so many different types of number plates out there. Whereas in Vic there are just the Green and Blue formats(i have heard there are also now the Euro plates as well).
  • Registration seems to be so complicated here, every year you have to go and purchase you CTP insurnce as well as get your mechanic to approve your car. This is such a much more complicated process compared to in victoria you just receive you rego papers, pay them and all is done. not to mention how much more expensive it is.
  • Professional drivers are speed limited, for red P's they are only supposed to drive at 90kph and Green p's are allowed 100kph which i think at time they take that literally no matter about the speed limit.
  • Learner drivers are only alowed to travel at 80kph which becomes a bit of a hazard on open roads with 110kph zones. I remember when i learnt i drove to QLD at the speed limit which gave me experience at speed which was invaluable.
  • In NSW you aren't allowed to do a U-turn unless you are told you can as apposed to in victoria where you are told where you can't.
  • Many people who have never been through Melbourne give you stick about doing a hook turn (which is a logical turn when you have trams) NSW has a curious rule, being able to do a left turn on red which can be a bit scary seeing someone pull out on you when you have a green light.
  • Also road conditions are at time deplorable, some roads are just patchwork quilts, there is no more road left, just patch over patch over patch.
  • One thing I have always found amusing is the massive signs telling people about the location of fixed speed cameras, they say "Speed Camera Ahead", no hidden cameras. I love the revenue rasing argument here.
  • Roundabouts, what's with roundabouts, they do this crazy indicator thing when entering which gives no actual indication of where they intend to turn at the roundabout...scary


  • Enough said


  • Newcastle Knights, League league league.
  • they call AFL aerial pingpong, they don't understand it

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Green Egg's got Ingrings

Firstly whenever you ask my 3 year old what her name she says she is a Green Egg,

I have no idea why, but she is a green egg apparently, and everyone in the family has a coloured egg assigned to them. Her favouite colour is green and she has to carry with her a green pillow which is painful as there are very few bottle green pillow cases out there.

Here is a conversation we have

what are you--a green egg
what about mum- a blue egg
what about Dad (me)- a green egg
what about your sister- a pink egg
what about nan- an orange egg
what about poppy- a blue egg
what about your aunt- a red egg
what about your uncle- a black egg (blows raspberry)
what about you- a green egg
are you a furry egg- I'm a green egg
are you a scrambled egg- I'm a green egg

This conversation goes round in circles but we get the same answer, she is a green egg.

Needless to say there is no question what type of egg to get her this year for easter.

So we were at shopping a couple of days ago and she started asking for ispeerse and ingrings. It took a while to work out it was earrings she was asking for.

So my wife took her off to get earrings and aside from the initial cry, she is happy, showing off her new Ingrings. She even turns them everyday although she doesn't like the spray.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Toilet Break Dilemma

Firstly I want to congratulate all the new shopping centres for acknowledging that parent room CAN also mean dads take their kids shopping.

I am a stay at home dad (or at least during the day, i work in the evening) hence I am the primary carer of my 3 year old.

Unfortunately some of the old shopping centres were designed in the days when it was assumed that mothers were the only ones who take their kids to the shops.

I was out shopping in coles at a local shopping centre (no my usual one) when my 3 year old told me she was busting. For those with young kids that means its a case of drop everything and make haste to the nearest toilet, don't pass go, don't collect $200.

My daughter has just recently decided she doesn't mind pooing in toilets which is a milestone as it means no more nappies which we are ecstatic about.

Anyway we made it to where there were the toilet signs, Male, Female and the baby sign (which usually means parents room). So i made my way down the hall only to find there were only 2 doors, Male and Female. So safe to assume the the parents section is in the ladies toilet. SO I am left with the dilemma of what to do. I can't send her off alone into the ladies toilet alone yet so i am having to take her into the men's toilet, not the most ideal.

We went in and she went into the cubicle and did her business and all was fine. We had high 5's when she proudly showed her poo in the toilet, wiped flushed and hands washed.

The thing that concerns me is the perception that others might have about a man taking a child into the men's toilet (after recent child molestation cases).

It doesn't look good or is that my own self consciousness showing?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why I love Sci Fi

Inspired by the conversation on ABC radio today I just wanted to show my appreciation for all things Sci Fi and make it known it is not mindless rubbish but a thinking persons genre.

I was having a "conversation" with my wife about my fondness for Star Trek (well she was having a swipe at me really) and I was trying to raise the argument that you have to look beyond the funny costumes to appreciate it.

For many people Sci Fi is just fantasy, an imaginary world where you can escape into, that is why sci fi and fantasy seem to merge into one genre at times.

I am of the other view that sci fi takes a future which is not written yet, there are possibilities, unknowns, new inventions new worlds, new life forms to come.

Take for example in 1987 when Star Trek The Next Generation was created there were devices similar to the newly released iPad, it was called a PADD. Perhaps it was the inspiration for such a device. Flat screens were used on the enterprise long before they were in use and isolinear optical chips could be seen to be similar to flash drives.

The creators of the show created a possibility and inventors inspired by these ideas brought then to life.

Star Trek was a revolution in tackling issues such as interracial marriage in a time during the civil rights movement. It has also tackles issues such as euthanasia, death, love. Start Trek also poses moral questions such as torture and how it is unreliable.

What comes across from the show is a deep sense of integrity, strong values and a firm belief in right and wrong. The Prime directive is similar to a Doctors oath to "do no harm" or interfere with societies that are not ready to develop technology.

And yet through all the advances in technology it accepts the frailties of life and death is still a companion to all although without any religious overtones which is refreshing.

It also poses technical and physical questions like how to travel faster than light, how time travel would effect your past and future. Some can be real brain teasers, they may be founded in fantasy, but there were a lots of scientific terms that would only be heard in a physics class at university like neutrinos and multiple dimensions.

Yes i know many wore strange headpieces but perhaps the Klingon's represented our fighting side as opposed to the Vulcan's out logical side(who deeply repressed their emotions). Or perhaps acceptance of those who are different from us.

I know they always save the day at the end of the show but if you look at it in it's original context in the 1960's, the world was going to come to a horrible end, it was almost an inevitability that we would suffer mutual destruction at the strike of a nuclear bomb. It showed that even after such horrific destruction, the human spirit would survive, and would eventually prosper.

And yes before you ask, i have been to 2 star trek conventions, but no i didn't wear any uniforms.

And that is just one show, many scifi programs have been blended in thriller or horror genres as well such as alien, or event horizon but then there were films such as GATACA which posed a question about a society where to get ahead you have to be genetically engineered or chosen. There is a class difference based on your genes. It was I think a warning of where we are headed as well.

Sci fi is a thinking persons genre, one that is forgotten because some people can't get past the clothes and the face masks, but whenever you see a Jane Austin film they dress up and talk in a funny way too don't they.
Unfortunately Sci Fi is not regarded highly by Production Companies, they can be expensive to produce as they do involve special effects etc and Television stations usually treat the fans with contempt (cancelling without notice and moving time slots etc). But as a fan we suffer for our passion. Then there are the B grade, low budget programs that do give Sci Fi a bad name.

Gene Roddenberry's world lives on, his vision still a positive one.

By the way guys I pretty much know Star Wars (yes that's what we used to call it until it became episode 4 a new hope) word for word.

Just a quote that was mentioned on the radio

Han Solo "..that's because a droid don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose."

C3PO "I suggest a new strategy R2, let the wookie win."

I think in 1982 we got our first VCR and that was the very first thing we recorded and EVERY time my cousin came over we watched Star Wars.
To finish this rant i have to say it comes
Peace and Long Life....Live Long and Prosper
My favourite Sci Fi Shows/Movies
Star Trek- all series and movies
Star Wars- all movies
Alien Movies
Red Dwarf (comedy Series)
Dr Who

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Leave a Legacy

The recent passing of my aunt, my mums sister, prompted me to think about something my own mum never had the managed to complete. Life is so temporary, can end all of a sudden leaving a vacuum.

Even though mum knew that she had a terminal disease, her health deteriorated very quickly and she was unable to complete what she set out to do.

What she wanted to do was write us each a letter explaining who she was, her history, some advice and just some words.

Other items that she managed to arrange was birthday presents, weddig presents and a present for each of our first child.

Unfortunately mum was not able to complete everything she wanted to do. She was only able to get one letter written for my eldest sister. All i have is video footage and her handwritten recipes, they are her legacy for me. At times when i miss her I miss the fact she didn't get everything down. There's so much i would love to ask her, especially as I now have a family.

So stop now, write down a list of what sort of legacy you want to leave. Make sure your family are aware you love them. Remember you life could end tomorrow.