Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sundays in my City - A visit from Joss Whedon

Unknown Mami
Hosted by Unknown Mami

Today I took Caitlin to the Opera House to hear Joss Whedon speak about his writing and directing career - from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Dr Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog and everything in between and beyond. Joss was fascinating and brilliant and funny and wonderful and when he tackle-hugged Wil Anderson* at the end of the show I was really rather surprised Wil didn't fall over. The image of Wil with Joss Whedon's legs wrapped around his waist is one that will stay with me forever.

After the talk/interview/QandA session we retired to the bar at the back of the Concert Hall with about 100 other people for drinks, nibblies and a chance to speak to the man himself. I stood back and smiled the smile of a super proud geeky mum as Caitlin told Joss about winning first prize in the singing category at the school talent quest singing "Under Your Spell" from the Buffy musical episode, got a great big hug from Joss and then posed for this:

Caitlin with JOSS WHEDON!!!

Ok, I'm not really showing much of the "in my City" part of the meme this week, but that is the inside of the Sydney Opera House you can see behind Caitlin and Joss there!

Don't forget to drop by Unknown Mami's place and see what's been happening in other cities round the world.

*Wil Anderson is a comedian and has been a huge fan of Joss from way back in the early days of Buffy. He was offered the job of interviewing Joss on stage at the Opera House and figured he may as well do it seeing as the seat on stage was a better one than the ticket he'd already bought for the event back in row R or something.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

More gratuitous cat blogging

The box from last night's post is still sitting on the kitchen table but it now has a different resident. I snuck up on him hoping not to disturb his slumber but the flash woke him straight away. I wasn't quick enough to catch any of the impressively huge yawns though.

Jack, fast asleep

Jack, fast asleep

Who disturbs me with the flashy thing?!

Who disturbs me with the flashy thing?



I'm an invisible cat.

You're still here?

You're still here?

Yep, I fit just fine thanks.

Yep, I fit just fine thanks

Now to see if we can get the dog to have a turn...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a cat...

...within cooee* of a box, will sit in it.

Samantha in a box

*not far from

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kitchen cupboards of DOOOOOM!

You know that cupboard that you just throw things in that don't really have a home elsewhere? The one where nothing stacks neatly and you can never find anything in it? No, not the Tupperware cupboard...what? You mean there's not supposed to be two cupboards like that? Oh. Never mind then.

I started out to clean out the cupboard under the sink but discovered that the randomness at the back of it had spread into the cupboard next door so I ended up doing both.

Under the sink (before)

Under the sink (before)

The corner cupboard (half-way through)

Corner cupboard (half-way through)

Under the sink (after)

Under the sink (after)

The corner cupboard (after)

Corner cupboard (after)

I'm throwing out a lot of stuff from under here (or, in the case of the disposable plates, cups etc, finding a new home for it) so as an added bonus I got to put some of the less often used appliances and the box of bottles for homemade ginger beer that have been cluttering up my benches, away away in the cupboards.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday miscellany and menu plan

Today was Wacky Hair Day at the school. A gold coin donation is collected for something or other, I forget what and the kids couldn't remember either, I guess the excitement of silly hairdo competitions and not having to wear school uniforms wipes all other considerations from mind.





We did lots of decluttering on the Sunday but somehow most of the house looks worse than when we started. I sorted through all the stationery and arts and crafts supplies and found enough lead pencils and coloured pencils to last us several years. Caitlin tested all the textas and there's enough of them to last till kingdom come too.

The top shelf of the cupboard that I'd tackled on Friday turned out to contain mostly craft stuff so I was able to clear that out completely and we're using it to store the basket of reenactment tableware.

Just right for the reenactment basket

We've made significant inroads to the mess that was left in the room destined to be Caitlin's bedroom.

So. Much. Crap.

I might even be able to get the vacuum cleaner in here soon!

The sofa bed has been unearthed!

Unfortunately some of what came out of that room ended up in my newly cleaned up lounge room but we'll get it all sorted out eventually.

My menu plan for the week is as follows:
Monday  - teriyaki pork ribs, corn on the cob and garlic brussels sprouts (and very nice they were too)
Tuesday - coq au vin with rice and green beans
Wednesday - corned beef with mashed potatoes and steamed veg
Thursday - sausages, jacket potatoes and salad
Friday - pizza (homemade if I have the energy!)
Saturday - Brendan's birthday dinner so no cooking for me. Yay!
Sunday - minestrone soup and bread

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sundays in my City - Cockatoo Island

Unknown Mami
Hosted by Unknown Mami

During the July school holidays my mum and I took the kids to Cockatoo Island for the day. Cockatoo Island, a former convict prison and shipyard, is the largest island in Sydney Harbour and when we went to visit it was being used as one of the venues for the 17th Biennale of Sydney to host 120 works by 56 artists. So we got history and art in the one go.

A free ferry service was provided for the Biennale and we did the stand outside and freeze while looking over the side at the water thing that one must always do when traveling on a Sydney Ferry (I'm sure there's a rule somewhere).

The backs of Dave's, Cait's and Grandma's heads.

The backs of Dave's, Cait's and my mum's heads

Cold kids and a cuddly Mum.

Freezing our butts off on the ferry

Cockatoo Island from the ferry

Approaching Cockatoo Island by ferry

Free Ferry!

Free ferry!

From the Cockatoo Island website:
The History of Cockatoo Island

The history of Cockatoo Island is emblematic of Australia's history. Before the arrival of Europeans, it was undoubtedly used by the first Australians, the Aboriginal tribes of Sydney's coastal region. In 1839 it was chosen as the site of a new penal establishment by the Governor of the colony of New South Wales, Sir George Gipps.

Convicts were put to work building prison barracks, a military guardhouse and official residences. Not long after, the maritime history of Cockatoo Island began with the construction of the Fitzroy Dock by convicts.

For the next 50 years the island was both a place of incarceration and the site of the colony's ship repair and shipbuilding activities. During the twentieth century maritime activity grew, notably during World War I and World War II. For a time, Cockatoo Island was the largest shipbuilding yard in Australia.

When the shipyard closed in 1992, Cockatoo Island lay dormant for a decade until the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust was established and given the responsibility of revitalising this significant site. The Trust is rehabilitating the island and creating one of the most unusual places to visit in the city.
You can stay on Cockatoo Island, either in tents or in the old Federation era duplex which you can see up on the top of the cliff.

View of the Federation duplex from the campground

The Guardhouse was built to double as a fort. If the prisoners decided to revolt, the guards could lock themselves in here and fire out through the embrasures.

The Old Guardhouse

Serge Spitzer's art installation in the old Guardhouse - little steel balls apparently randomly scattered over the floor. I really liked this one but I couldn't tell you why.

Serge Spitzer's art installation in the old Guardhouse

Serge Spitzer's art installation in the old Guardhouse

Ready to repel rebellious convicts?

In the old Guardhouse on Cockatoo Island

Tom sitting in front of the Mess Hall and Barracks.

Tom having a rest with the Mess Hall and Barracks behind

Looking down at Sutherland Dock.

Looking down at Sutherland Dock

Photocollage by Jemima Wyman (I think. I should have written this post weeks ago when I could still remember!)

The kids looking at a photocollage

Cai Guo-Qiang's exploding cars

Cai Guo-Qiang's exploding cars

Factory buildings.

Factory buildings on Cockatoo Island

Free Overseers' Quarters which were converted to an air raid shelter in World War 2

Air raid shelter entrances

Free Overseers Quarters

Another view of the Federation era duplex

Federation era duplex on Cockatoo Island

Looking down at The Plaza and and at "Jumping Castle War Memorial" by Brook Andrews - you had to be 16 years or over to jump on the castle. I didn't see anyone on it.

Looking down at The Plaza

"Caution: Aggressive Birds"

Caution: Aggressive Birds

Example thereof. I'm not convinced.


Grain Silo walkway

Grain silo walkway

Grain silos were carved out of the sandstone by hand by convicts in the early 1800's

Grain silo walkway

Grain silo

Once we'd found our way back down to the lower level of the island we walked through the dogleg tunnel which was built to get men, parts and equipment from one side of the island to the other more easily. It also doubled as a bomb shelter during World War II.

Tom in the tunnel through Cocktoo Island

Map of the island (click to embiggen)

Don't forget to stop by Unknown Mami's place to see what everyone else is sharing!

ETA: I just realised there was an historical tidbit I forgot to put in, and it's my favourite fact about the island!

The only prisoner known to have escaped from Cockatoo Island was Frederick Ward. In 1863 he swam to the mainland where his Aboriginal mistress was waiting for him with clothes and a horse. He headed for the north-west of NSW and became the bushranger Thunderbolt, until he was shot and killed by the police in 1870.

Thunderbolt was based in the area around Uralla near Armidale which is where we went at Easter for the Dark Ages camp. There's a museum at Uralla with lots of Thunderbolt memorabilia and artifacts.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Election Day bits and bobs

I had a fabulous time on Friday night, eating, drinking and talking into the wee small hours with good friends. Thanks to Toni for having us at her house, to Ariane for yummy pumpkin and potato and leek soups and to Cate for scrumptious apple dessert and a boyfriend who drove me home at 3:00am.

We started our day with breakfast in the sun on the front deck and then went to the kids' school to sell sausage sandwiches for 1.5 hrs to those lined up to vote and then came back to the polling place up the street from our place to do our democratic duty. I did my little bit to contribute to the 5.3% swing to the Greens in the House of Representatives in our electorate (we're in one of the safest Liberal seats in the country, it's look for the bright side or despair) and to the election of NSW's first Greens senator. We seem to be in limbo at the moment with a hung parliament the most probable result. We are therefore opening another bottle of red.

In cheerier news Adam and Tom made soft pretzels today using this recipe and they were awesome.

Homemade pretzels

I found myself obliged to tackle lounge room corner the third this afternoon because I needed to move the cabinet in that corner in order to reach the TV aerial and plug it in to the wall socket behind the cabinet. We've been without broadcast TV since I accidentally unplugged the aerial when plugging in the Christmas tree lights at the beginning of December last year.

Impressive isn't it?

Lounge room corner the third

Now, that looks better...but wait, what's that behind the coffee table?


Ah, that'll be tomorrow's project!

Tomorrow's project

Now, you'll have to excuse me, I have red wine to drink, vintage cheddar to nibble and inconclusive election results to obsess over.