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Monday, August 23, 2010

Benign Girl will give you infinite pleasure

Living in share houses provides all sorts of experiences. I've been very lucky to be able to live with friends and family and still be on speaking terms after we've gone our separate ways. Any of you who have lived in share houses will no doubt be familiar with the phenomenon of random things turning up in your house; sometimes even in your room- like the time myself and Professor Pop'n'Smelly wrapped a shopping trolley in black cloth and put it on my brother's bed. No, I don't know why we did this either, but my brother's reaction of complete confusion at this mysterious object was worth the effort.

With these sorts of random shenanigans in mind, I was slightly perplexed and more than a bit amused to find this on the kitchen table recently:

This is not only a classic example of Engrish, but the lengths that markets have to go to get our money; this product will not be merely fun, it will not provide paltry happy times, IT WILL GIVE YOU INFINITE PLEASURE!!! This is the sort of claim I usually associate with illicit narcotics, or sex toys, or some combination of the two...which makes me worry, because the housemate this belongs to intends to give it to my best friend's five year old daughter.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The cure for the common cold

Colds. It seems like everyone has had one this year. Except me, because I'm lazy and don't push myself hard enough (except on the tennis court) to compromise my immune system- until last weekend, when two very late nights and a lot of fun have led to a rather sore throat, which is my immune system's early warning system. Wanting to cut this cold off at the pass I decided to recreate the Victoria Road Boys patented cold destroyer: a sandwich filled with garlic and chilli. While this may sound like the gastronomical equivalent of being kicked in the balls, my very hazy memories seem to indicate it wasn't too bad.

So, if you are stupid enough to try this at home (don't try this at home unless you really like chilli!) you will need: 

2 slices of bread (or a roll)

Some chilli (fresh is better but I used the stuff in a jar,
about one heaped teaspoon)

Some garlic (1 large clove or about a heaped teaspoon
or crushed garlic from a jar)


Here is me before eating:

 Starting to eat:




Much to my pleasant surprise, my hazy memories were right for once: this was actually pretty tasty. The garlic and chilli seemed to cancel each other out somehow, leaving only the bitey taste of the garlic and a warm aftertaste from the chilli. In fact, this was so good I'll probably do this again!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Macgyver-ing 2

I've always said that a really good story involves someone (preferably the teller of the story) doing something really stupid. Like the time I turned up to a friend's animal themed fancy dress party as a pirate because I'd lost the invitation and had forgotten the animal part. Oops. With that firmly in mind I give you "The story of the shot glass eye bath!"

This story comes from the hazy recollections of my time spent living with my brother and step-brother in a house on Victoria Road in the inner northern suburb of Northcote. Those who came to the house would recall (possibly) the many good times had in the years we lived there.

As a group of young men, our interests were drinking, partying, drinking, home brewing beer for drinking, anyone of the opposite sex, and drinking. One night when it was my turn to make dinner, I was chopping up some chilli whilst under the influence. This is not recommended; all sorts of things can go wrong- most of them didn't. I cooked dinner (chicken satay I believe)  and, slightly tired by the effort of cooking, I wiped my eyes. Which still had chilli on them. This led to large amounts of burning in my eye. Ever eaten a chilli raw? Like that, but in your eye.

Lacking an official eye bath of any kind, I remembered one of my friends telling me that water accelerates the reaction that causes chilli to give off heat; what you need is milk. So I grabbed a shot glass, filled it with milk, leaned my head over it and then pulled my head upright while keeping the shot glass pressed to my face. I blinked rapidly and the pain was gone. My brothers were impressed both with my stupidity and my solution to the problem. They were also amused by the milk that had spilt all over my face. They were on the floor laughing when I rubbed my eyes again ten minutes later.

This and the last post would have to be my most Macgyver moments- there have probably been others, but those were the best two. So now it's your turn- what was your greatest Macgyver moment? Leave a comment or drop me a line. Cheers.


Today I cooked bolognese sauce. And lots of it. As a lazy man who is responsible for feeding himself I am firmly of the 'Cook lots of something and then eat it over the next week' school of cookery. Although cookery may be going too far; what I produce is food, but it's a long way from cuisine. My taste buds don't work very well, so I'm not too fussy about what I eat- as long as its food and its healthy I'll eat it. As I was cooking my mind wandered back to the most ingenious cooking moment in my life, notable not for the food, but for the cooking apparatus used- and so begins "The story of the sixty watt stove!"

My mum and step-dad like to take their caravan down to the sleepy sea-side village of Point Lonsdale every summer.  They used to live down there, and get back when they can. A few years back they were leaving the caravan unoccupied at a caravan park and going somewhere else, and invited me to stay. Thinking that a change of scenery could do me good I accepted.

The caravan had just been in for the caravan equivalent of a car service and I was assured that everything was working, so I went to the local supermarket and bought myself some food for dinner. Not being a man of expensive tastes when it comes to food (I am however particular to a good single malt whiskey) I bought myself a can of soup for dinner. When dinnertime rolled around I emptied the soup into a pot and tried to light the gas stove. Nothing. I checked the gas bottle, the connections, everything I could thing of. Still nothing. Having opened the soup, and being quite hungry, I was not going to let a minor detail like the stove not working stop me, nor was I going to eat my soup cold. (It should be made clear at this juncture that the caravan does not have a microwave.)

Necessity being the mother of invention I looked around the caravan for possible alternate sources of heat, and came up with: the bed side light. Yep, all sixty watts. While watching some environmentally themed show way back when I learned that incandecent light bulbs waste up to ninety percent of their electricity use as heat- normally a waste, but in this situation a road to dinner! I turned the fitting upside down and precariously balanced the pot on top of it, turned the light on and waited. And waited. Aaaaaaaand waited. Then I stirred the soup. Then waited. It took nearly an hour, but eventually the soup boiled and I ate it. It was delicious. Okay, it probably was average- it came out of a can, but seldom have I felt such a sense of accomplishment.

After spending most of the next day enjoying the seaside, I drove home. A few days later I told my mum about the trouble I had with the stove and my ingenious solution. She apologised profusely. Then told me that there was a back up stove hidden underneath one of the seats in the caravan. I'm still not sure whether to be vexed, or glad that I had the opportunity to exercise my inventiveness.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The hidden dangers of couches

Most of you out there probably own a couch. You've sat on them, lounged, crashed out, slept, passed out jumped up and down on them (I'm looking at you Tom.) You might even be sitting on one now. Most of you will be sitting in comfort. Those of you with older model couches may not be quite as comfortable as the others. I suggest you make friends with people in the first category and then take their couches when they pass out at a party. Up until last Sunday night I did not realise that the couch was a danger to my health- undoubtedly many others are unaware of the menace to your health that is currently underneath you.

I am one of those special people who injures themselves only through stupidity:

  • I tore all the ligaments down the right side of my right foot 20 seconds before the end of the last song at a high school dance trying to impress some girl. Girl wasn't impressed. Dan in much pain and can't walk properly for a month, has to get crutches.
  • I tore all the ligaments down the left side of my left foot by tripping over the service line tape on an en-tous-cas (clay) tennis court. Yes, the tape that is no more than one millimetre (1/32 of an inch for those in imperial) above the rest of the court. No more tennis for Dan for a month.
  • I tore all the ligaments down the right side of my right foot again by jumping over a 60 cm high (2 feet) fence and coming down on the edge of a brick while retrieving a hacky sack. No more hacky sack for Dan for a month.
  • I tore all the ligaments down the left side of my left foot again while running around a park well after midnight playing vortex ball while drunk. This is one of those things that in hindsight was a terrible idea, but at the time, this was unquestionably one of the greatest ideas in human history, right up there with the wheel, fire and Angelina Jolie.
So it should come as no surprise to you that I managed to sprain my neck by lying on the couch reading a book (the excellent Heart of the comet by David Brin and Gregory Benford) with my neck at a bad angle, specifically the angle of PAIN! I didn't realise this at the time because my couch had lulled me into a false sense of comfort. That's their M.O. people: they make you feel all comfy, then BAM, a critical joint in your body is out of place.

A trip to the osteopath and $70 later I am in less pain but can't play tennis for a week, which is bad 'cause I have to find fill-ins for four of the different competitions I play in. So here I am again, back on the couch, writing this to inform you all of the lurking dangers of your couch. Watch out. You've been warned.

P.S. I now wholeheartedly endorse Voltaren anti-inflammitory pain killers. They work good.