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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.