Saturday, 28 June 2008

A Moment's Grace

I got lost in my own fairytale.
I followed all the rules but I was running late.
I adorned my hair with faerie blooms, held forth soft light in my eyes and walked with an angel's tread but the revels had already started.
The prince's eye fell elsewhere and far less steady.
I found myself useful rather than ethereal.
A hand offered and ignored whilst around me all others took their place in the story.
Even my mother lay in sheets of vivid red, spelled to ever sleep, murmuring a request for a restoring cup when stirred but blissfully unaware of her predicament.
So I gave up.
I accepted.
I embraced my invisibility and helped myself to the dessert table.
And watched as the prince and his chosen princess slowly broke each other's hearts.
Whilst I ate cake and made my mother a cup of tea.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Cooking With Ricochet: How To Make Rissoles

Serves about 4 (depending on how big of an eater each person is)

500-700 grams minced meat* (usually beef or lamb or veal, whatever you prefer)
2 or 3 tablespoons of tomato paste (puree)
1 large onion
1 teaspoon of oregano (or as much as you like)
1 teaspoon of sweet Hungarian paprika (once again, you like paprika, go nuts)
Plain Flour
Eggs (at least 6)

Potatoes (enough to make mashed potato for everyone - I dunno, 6 large 'tatoes)

  1. Go home for the weekend to see your family and get roped into making dinner.
  2. Take the minced meat and stick it in a mixing bowl with the tomato paste, the chopped up onion, the sweet Hungarian paprika and oregano. Start squishing it all together with your hands in a gross, glorious, squidgy mess.
  3. Find out that the refrigerator system at the supermarket was a little overenthusiastic and that the mince is actually semi-frozen when you start losing the sensation in your fingertips.
  4. When your mobile phone starts ringing in your jeans pocket, run into the lounge room and scare the bejesus out of your sister by jumping up and down and jiggling your hip at her and yelling that you can’t answer the phone because your hands are covered in meat.
  5. Roll your eyes when, once she has fished out your mobile phone and answered it, you discover that it’s your mother calling to check that you still remember where everything is in the cupboard. From the other end of the house.
  6. Take four large pasta bowls. Half fill each of them: one with milk, one with plain flour, one with egg and one with breadcrumbs.
  7. Roll a ball of mincey-meaty-onion-tomato stuff up into the size of an egg and squish it flat. Then dip it in the milk, roll it in the flour, dip it in the egg, roll it in the breadcrumbs and put it on a large plate to await cooking.
  8. This will take a while and you will have to have another plate on standby to scrape accumulated milky, floury, eggy, breadcrumby goop off your fingers onto.
  9. As you are scraping crap off your hands yell at your sister that what she really really wants to do is peel the potatoes and stick them in a microwave safe casserole dish and nuke them for about ten minutes and then mash them with a bit of milk, margarine and salt.
  10. She will disagree but you will be very convincing. She will be very convinced that she doesn’t want milky, floury, eggy, breadcrumby fingers wiped all over her nice shirt.
  11. Once you’ve finished rolling and dipping and scraping, wash all the gunk off your hands, pour an oil of your choice (canola, vegetable, olive… whatever gloopily floats your boat) into a frypan and start frying rissoles at a sort of medium high temperature (I dunno) until they’re golden brown on the outside and cooked on the inside. About 2 minutes each side should do it.
  12. Serve with plenty of mashed potato, tomato sauce** and pointed comments along the line of how nice it is to come home and see everyone and be given the opportunity to refamiliarise yourself with the family kitchen. Mouths will be too full to allow verbal ripostes so expect the 'talky talky' hand signal and grins.

*possibly known as ground chuck elsewhere in the multiverse (Who is Chuck and what did he do to you?) - Oh and 500 - 700 grams is about 1.1 to 1.5 pounds

**ketchup, catsup, tomato relish, whatever.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Lazy And List-tastic!

From the top of my head to the bottom of your list of priorities.

Things That I’ve Done This Long Without And Intend Never To Master

  • Hairdryers – Once you start, that’s it. You’re its slave. You can’t go out without you magical heat sculpted hair or people will think you are a tramp! And not the fun kind with fishnet stockings! And then when it’s a ‘special occasion’ you can’t just have your normal hairdryer hair! You need to spend a mint at the hairdresser or use a tonne of gel and, I dunno, sculpt your hair into the shape of a swan or something!
  • Clothes Irons – If you hang your clothes out to dry nice and quick you don’t have to bloody iron them and won’t risk ending up with creases where creases shouldn’t be because you don’t know what you’re doing or spending maybe half of your weekend apply hot metal to defenseless fabric [and on occasion, when you stop paying attention, to yourself].
  • Any Appliance Ever Demonstrated By Jamie Oliver – OK, not the electric beaters or the oven but that cyborg mixer that looks like it could mince up a body if it was cut into manageable chunks first or any of those other fancy assed devices – just, no. I expect I can’t afford them and I’d keep forgetting to use them and eventually I would press the wrong button at the wrong time and would forever after be known as ‘Dummy One Thumb’.

Things That Are A Pretty Good Bet To Make Me Tear Up

  • The Christmas Carol The Little Drummer Boy – He had no money but he still wanted to give the baby a present and he tried so damn hard and… dammit I was raised Catholic!
  • That Futurama Episode Jurassic Bark The dog waits for him! It just waits and waits and just when the reunion it had been waiting for all its life is moments away Fry changes his mind! Damn you Fry! Damn you Matt Groening and David X Cohen and all you other rat bastards! The hell is wrong with you!?
  • When Mufasa Dies In The Lion King What? The music is moving and Simba is really sad and he thinks it’s his fault… Oh shit, all my sad things are cartoons and carols… I’m such a girl…

Things It's Fun To Say When People Are Just About To Swallow Their Drink

  • “You know they shouldn't put beer in clear glass bottles, it makes it look like tinkle.
  • “What's the plural of penis? Penises or penii?"
  • "I heard your sister's going out with SQUEAK!

Reasons I Would Make A Good Vampire

  • I used to bite people when I was a little kid, the urge never completely fades.
  • I already totally own a bottle of black nail polish.
  • I studied Arts at university, I am just chock full of ennui and philosophical observations on the fragile nature of mortality.

Reasons I Would Make A Crappy Vampire

  • I wouldn’t want to bite just any old chump. First of all their neck would have to be clean *yeesh* and have we worked out what happens to vampires if the human has been hitting the druggies, or is full of disease or has a cholesterol situation that should have alarm bells attached to it? Can vampires have heart attacks?
  • Stopping to try and slather people with cheese tends to give them time to try and scream for help and/or escape.
  • I would be unable to stop eating garlic and would accidentally top myself by eating a pizza. What? If I was lactose intolerant you’d have to kill me to get me to stop eating ice cream, you think I’m going to give up garlic? I’m 50% garlic!

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Hey! Where'd You Get Your Walking Licence!? Out Of A Cereal Packet!?


A lot of us are doing it wrong.

You’d think that’d be a pretty tricky thing to manage to completely screw up, something as simple and fundamental as walking, but here we are.

I know, I was pretty surprised too, but apparently a lot of us completely fail walking.

I say ‘us’ because I’m one of the losers who has been putting one foot in front of the other in a completely inappropriate way for most of their life.

I’d managed to start dragging myself to the gym on a semi-regular basis at the end of last year and this stubborn penance for years of minimal activity and Uni student eating lasted all the way until April this year when my knees started to crap out on me.

I thought this was pretty bloody unfair.

All these years of doing balls all and I finally get off my arse to get my body into working order so I don’t turn into one of the grandma age ladies who look like an inverted L or, alternatively, a bean bag with legs and arms and my joints start mouthing off at me.

After giving up the gym and a nice long stretch of denial failed to do away with the mild but annoying ache I finally went to the doctor who sent me to the radiologist who said there were no ‘structural abnormalities’ and suggested I see a physio.

Going to the physio you always feel like half of what they ask you to do is for a hidden camera show or their own entertainment.

I was asked to walk up and down in a straight line, my pants rolled up to my knees whilst the physio crouched down and examined my gait like a judge at a dog show. I had to stand on one foot and then the other and then do some strange stretches that made the Village People’s timeless classic YMCA pop into my head.

And at the end of all this energetic knobbing around the physio nodded, satisfied with her observations, and told me that I was walking wrong.

Turns out that the slight sway to my hips is not a result of my middle name being ‘sexy’ but of poor walking technique.

I lose walking.

With the aid of some posters, a lovely plastic skeleton and stopping just short of pulling out hand puppets, she explained to me that there are a whole swag of muscles supporting your hips that work in cooperation with the muscles in your legs and back to manage walking.

Except mine weren’t. Mine were sitting around having a smoke and playing cards or something. So the whole walking deal was being managed by a couple of big muscles that run all the way down the outside of the leg, join up with some muscles in my back and stretch up across my shoulders.

As she explained how these muscles have basically just been slingshotting my full weight back and forth between them and been responsible for the entire ‘dynamic motion’ of my body for X amount of years I could almost hear the comedy rubber band sound effects.

So apart from being given some strange and embarrassing exercises to do to ‘wake up’ the muscles in the vicinity of my bum that I hope no one ever walks in on me doing, I started wondering how the hell do physiotherapists ever go outside?

Can you imagine walking down the street and mentally cataloguing exactly what everyone was doing wrong and imagining what they’ll look like in 20 years when they’ve done the body equivalent of wearing out their fan belts or snapping their cam shafts*?

How would you be able to stop yourself from running up to them and telling them to knock it off?

Probably in the same way dentists stop themselves from confronting people in the street, wild-eyed and earnest, offering them free toothbrushes and sample size packets of toothpaste.

Probably the way that you stop yourself from approaching people who are walking down the street in broad daylight wearing suspenders AND a belt AND sandals with socks.

Probably the way that die-hard environmentalists and vegetarians stop themselves from criticising other peoples’ lifestyle and dietry choi… Oh, wait…

Anyway, in the meantime me and this strange rubber tube thing-y that looks like I should be using it to shoot up in a public restroom are off to re-enact an Olivia Newton-John video clip**.

*This is pretty much the full extent of my knowledge of car terminology and I am probably using it wrong.

**No, not the one from Grease. God I wish…