Heavy Plant

Walk past a "Heavy Plant" warning and wonder vaguely if the trees thought it was for them; if whoever put it up had enough imag...


Today in pictures


My running shoes died after three years of faithful service/abuse. I shouldn't really have been playing tennis in them.

Lizard posing

Seen out on the reserve at Magic Point. There are thousands of them, but this one was willing to sit still and have his picture taken.

Wasabi peas - more addictive than crack

This is a snack from Japan (we think). Big fat peas covered in wasabi batter and roasted. If you aren't familiar with it wasabi is japanese horseradish which is often strong enough to bring tears to your eyes. I don't know if it's the endorphine hit you get from the wasabi or the strange nutty flavour that they have, but once a tin of these is open it gets finished.


Having destroyed the only shoes I have to play tennis in I needed some new ones. Yes, I know they're blue and shiny, I don't care what you think, I like them.


The Great Ginger Beer Experiment: Drinking

Hubble bubble beery trouble

You might be wondering what happened to the Ginger Beer. Before I interupted myself with Holidays and expensive toys I opened the cupboard it was brewing in to see how it was going. To my surprise there was no broken glass and sticky residue all up the walls but 13 well behaved bottles of nicely cleared liquid. Could it be that I have finally after all these years succeeded in making drinkable Ginger beer? To the Fridge!

Putting on a blast jacket and carefully handling one of the bottles in case the pressure inside had reached explosive levels I chilled one of the bottles over night. With the beer I ordinarily brew this can often mess the flavour up a bit and make the beer go cloudy but with Ginger beer this doesn't matter.

24 Hours later I put the helmet and blast jacket back on and gently remove the bottle from the fridge. With a feeling of some trepidation I undid the lid and found myself slightly disappointed that instead of a sharp explosion and a fountain of Ginger beer, I have the proper hiss of a well carbonated drink. Pouring it into the specially bought jug the first thing that I noticed was the fantastic smell. All the lemon, ginger and vanilla aromas has been preserved and it still has the cough-syrup smell. The colour is about right and it is cloudy – because I put some of the funk from the bottom of the barrel in each bottle there are little tiny pieces of ginger floating in the beer. This puts a certain person off the drink itself but it is actually not much worse than traditionally made lemonade and is perfectly tolerable.

The taste is unbelievably gingery, and slightly acidic from the lemons which also feature in the taste. The vanilla isn’t hugely noticeable but has definitely made the drink a lot smoother. It isn’t very sweet, it’s not quite sharp but it certainly isn’t super sweet. I can’t taste the alcohol but it’s in there somewhere as the sugar that made it really sticky when the mixture was put in the fermenter is totally gone. It’s actually a very palatable drink and would be fantastic on a hot afternoon. I just have to wait a month or so until we start getting those again!

I have now satisfied myself that it is actually possible to make decent Ginger Beer though there are a few things I would do differently. Perhaps next time I will put the ginger in a muslin bag before I start boiling the mixture – that would keep the bits out. I also think I used one lemon too many and would definitely consider putting a bit more vanilla in too. It remains to be seen whether I can abstain from guzzling the whole lot before the hot weather returns, especially as I now need the bottles to make real beer!


At blinkin' last!

There are going to be some changes on here. Finally Google/blogger have put some of the changes I've wanted into action. There will be some small changes on here whilst the bigger bits are figured out.

Basically any of the more "advanced" features on here that I have had to code myself will stop working and the page will look a bit squashed up for a while as I work out how to reinstate them - this may take some time and you might have a little oddness in the comments as Google make you get an account etc. etc. but it is hugely worth it for me not to have to arse about with so much code so regularly.

Benefits include better archiving, labels/categories on posts that I don't have to code myself and lots of other bits still to come.


Blue Mountains - photos


Bad splice but a great landscape

We spent the weekend in a studio apartment in Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains.

The Blue Mountains aren't so much a range of mountains as a heavily eroded plateau which gives rise to some spectacular scenery.


River Gorge

One of the highlights was walking down this river gorge not far from Blaxland on Sunday where the path just disappears and you are left to scramble over boulders and find your own way between the trees. You could have been in the middle of nowhere but in fact were only a little over 50km from Sydney.

The drive home took only about an hour from where this photo was taken. There is national parkland even closer to us to the South. The scenery isn't quite as spectacular but because the terrain is a bit flatter you can see further and it looks a lot more remote.


Don't know what these are called - there were loads of them


Thursday night out

Last night we went to Cherijam to watch our friend Ephrem perform. The video clip you can see here is of his second song of the night. The man has a great voice and a terrific stage presence – bastard.

Now lean in and grin like a drunken fool...perfect!
Ephrem was one of a selection of performers on that night all of whom were pretty good. The night itself was organised by Sally who I did take a picture of which was hastily deleted at the subject’s request – she will not be appearing in this post. I also have a fantastic one of Emily which will not be published here without her permission.

The best seat in the house was claimed early on

Cherijam is a great venue with two extremely well decked out bars above what looks to be a great restaurant. We ate in the bar upstairs – good pizza, nice wine - I feel a bit the worse for wear today, again.



Anyone got any ideas what I do with this? I mean it's great and my inner geek is simply delighted but I just dunno what I might do with this.
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Friday office booze

Friday office booze
Originally uploaded by dataphage.
A random stranger has just walked into my office and handed me a glass of wine. Shame he couldn't find a glass of red.