Thursday, September 22, 2011

Asian Food, William Angliss, Broni, and Gordon Aalborg

1. Worked more on the 2007 photos.

I'm keeping the original captions, but not exactly. I'm changing them a bit.

I talked about myself in third person, and that's incredibly annoying. Why did I do that? I'm fixing that annoyance.

There's some stuff that I wrote, and I thought it was so clever back then.  Now I think it's stupid.

There was a caption on one photo that even offended me a bit. I kind of just skipped that photo.

It's really sad if you can offend your own self with your own joke.

2.  Watched parts of some embedded videos on Fruitcake's blog featuring Kamahl.  

I became nosy about his ethnic origins, and consulted Lord Wiki.  He has Sri Lankan heritage.  

3. Watched Kamahl sing "The Elephant Song".

I like the song, and his voice. It's very low. It reminds me a bit of James Earl Jones' voice.

4. Learned from Sara's blog that you can now switch your Facebook to Pirate English.

That's fun.

I'll have to do it.

5. Amused by Eurasian Sensation's editorial about Asian food cooked by non-Asians. It's a bit racist and unfair, but I sort of agree with him.

His theory is that non-Asians don't do well at cooking Asian food.  He says:

But in practice, when white chefs try to do Asian food, there is often something missing. The balance of flavours is slightly out; it’s a bit like someone’s idea of what Asian food is, rather than actually being Asian food. The punchier aspects of Asian cuisine – garlic, chilli, fish sauce, shrimp paste, lime and so on – are muted, while the sugary elements are often too strong.

Yeah.  That's what I've encountered in my experience.

I say it's unfair, though, because who knows; there might be some white people out there who are excellent with the Asian food thing.  Unless we've tasted every Asian dish made by a white person, we can't know for sure that white people can't do Asian food.

I'm pretty sure it's not a genetic thing.  Tim was born in Korea and was adopted by Floridians when he was about 2 years old.  He's grown up with white people.

Tim is a FANTASTIC chef.   He makes the best pizza I've had in a long time. Yesterday he made homemade pasta that was delicious.  He makes great guacamole and salsa.  He makes really great Indian curries. He's fantastic at making desserts.

Really.  I live with a gourmet chef.

But his Asian food.....

Let me start by saying that it's gotten MUCH better.  He's working on improving, and the improvements are going well.   I like his Asian food now; or at least most of it.  Some of it is very delicious.  But it still doesn't taste the same as the stuff you'd get from an Asian restaurant.  It still kind of tastes like white-chef Asian food.

6. Thought about how some Chinese food in Fort Worth tastes like white-chef Asian food too. Is this because they have cooks who are not Asian?   Or maybe the Asians have been cooking for white people for so long, they've lost some of their Asian.

7. Read another article about Scientology. 

This one talks about a thing called Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF).

It's a place for Scientologists to become rehabilitated. There's one in Dundas, Sydney.  That's near Parramatta.  

Disgruntled ex-Scientologists are saying it's an evil place where television, radio, books, and newspapers are forbidden.  Everyone has to do hard labor and they eat rice and beans.

They're not supposed to talk to anyone who's not in the RPF program.

They can't walk.  They're told they have to run from program to program.


Scientology says the program is voluntary.

They gave a statement to the Lateline.

The Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF) is a voluntary religious program of spiritual rehabilitation offered to provide a "second chance" to those who have failed to fulfil their ecclesiastical responsibilities...

The program does not include luxuries, to motivate the individual to improve himself and get through the program to once again be a capable and contributing member of the group...

The property is open to the street with free access to and from the property.

It's YOUR choice.  You decide if you should go or not.

Okay, but what happens to you if you don't go?

Do you still get to stay with Scientology?

What if someone has been convinced that Scientology is the path they need to take? If they want to stay, can they do that without doing the RPF thing?

If someone has already put a lot of time and money into Scientology; if the only way to stay is RPF, they may feel they have no choice.

The choice thing reminds me of the whole Jesus-choice thing.  Proclaim Jesus is your savior or burn in hell for eternity.

What kind of God would be so cruel to let people burn like that?

Oh, he's a very loving God.  He gives everyone a choice.  He's not forcing you to believe.

No, that's not a real choice.

A real choice is Do you want chocolate or strawberry ice-cream?   There I'm given options.

The Jesus and RPF "choice" is like saying, Eat this bowl of chocolate ice-cream or I'll kill your whole family.

It's a choice...maybe.  But it's not a very fair one.   

8. Started to read an interview with Toni Jordan, the author of Addition.   I finished reading the book last night. I liked how it ended.

I love the general philosophy behind the book—probably because it's anti-psychiatry.  

I guess it also has an X-Men kind of theme.  Just because you're very weird; it doesn't mean you need to be fixed.

Getting rid of something, that's perceived by others to be a problem, doesn't guarantee you'll end up happier...especially if you take psychiatric drugs with negative side effects.

9. Learned from Kevin Rudd's Twitter that he got a Kindle for his birthday.  I wonder what's the first book he'll read on it?  

10. Walked to the library.

I decided that I wouldn't just seek out certain books. Instead my plan was to start at the first shelf of fiction and choose a book.  Then the next visit, I'd go to the next shelf.

I love doing stuff like that.

I was thinking there MIGHT be a chance that I'd find an Australian book.

Then the first book I picked up ended up being about Tasmania.  I thought that was funny.

The book is called Dining with Devils; and it's written by Gordon Aalborg.  

I don't know if Aalborg is Australian, or not.  The bio on the back says he spent 20 years in Tasmania.  Now he lives in Canada.

The book seems a little right-wing.  I'm just getting that from the inside jacket description.  It has the phrase  psychotic American-hating ex-Vietnam Sniper. That sounds like something a right-wing person would say—connecting a hatred of America with the whole psychotic sniper thing.

Also, one of the people he thanks in the acknowledgment section is a retired gun dealer in Queensland.

Then again, if someone on the left or in the centre was doing a book involving guns, they might need to consult a gun dealer for information too. 

11. Saw that the Australian dollar is now lower than the American dollar.  I actually saw it before I left for the library, and now I just checked again. It's even lower.  It's at .976 American dollars.

I talked to Tim about Australia.  Hopefully it will stay low and we can go in March. If that doesn't work out, I'm thinking maybe we can go in July instead.  But then we'd scrap our Victoria plans and do the north instead.  

I thought we were going to buy tickets in November, but now Tim is saying we should wait until December...unless there's a really good deal.

12. Went to Gordon Aalborg's website.

He's Canadian, but spent many years in Australia.

13. Learned Aalborg writes romances using the name Victoria Gordon.

14. Thought about how I have trouble deciding whether to write about people using their first name or last name. I used to always refer to people by their last name.  Then I started referring to them by their first name.  But then with Aalborg, I felt compelled to use his last name.

Maybe I'll just do whatever my mood tells me to do.

15. Looked at plane tickets with Tim.

16. Went to Tallygarunga.

Nothing new has been added to any story thread since September 21.  That's two days ago, since it's September 23 in Australia now.

17. Decided to read These Streets Will Make You Feel Brand New.  

The stars are Eudoxia Karras and Jason Miller.

It takes place in NYC way back on August 17. It's funny reading this because I've read stories that take place AFTER Jason and Eudoxia have returned from New York.  I might feel like I've gone backwards in time.

18. Started to read.

Eudoxia is thinking she doesn't want Jason to meet her family.   She's annoyed because Thomas keeps calling.  Thomas is the old family friend who likes Eudoxia more than a friend. He's staying in Eudoxia's apartment while Eudoxia is in NYC with another man.  

19. Learned that Eudoxia and Jason took a portkey to Australia. They wanted to avoid the high ticket prices.

I wish we had a portkey.  Although I learned from Pottermore it can make you nauseated.

20. Continued to read.  Jason is annoyed at Thomas' frequent phone calls; and is annoyed that Eudoxia didn't tell him earlier that he was staying in her flat.

He's a bit jealous.

21. Learned that Eudoxia still has no clue that Thomas likes her.

Thomas was subject to her mud pies and her fizzy hair and that was probably how he would always see her, as the little girl who tagged along on vacations.

I would guess she's in denial.  I'd think she'd have some suspicions.  Thomas tried to hold her hand when they were shopping.  Now he keeps calling.

22. Saw that Eudoxia and Jason told each other that they loved each other.

That's very sweet.

23. Looked at our Australia trip plans on the calendar with Jack, and then we looked at a website about Clunes, Victoria together.

24. Saw that my Australian of the day is Sir William Charles Angliss.  He was a butcher and frozen meat exporter.

I wonder if he did any live transport.

Hopefully not.

25. Learned that Angliss was born in England in 1865.

He did butchering work for his uncle in London.  He spent 2.5 years in New York.  Then he moved to Queensland.  That was in 1884.  

Angliss worked a year in Brisbane.  He did some time in Sydney, and then he moved to Melbourne. 

By 1892 he had a meat exporting business on Bourke Street.

26. Saw that Angliss became very successful with his business.  He started buying pastoral properties.

27. Learned the Vestey family bought Angliss' business.

I know the Vestey family from this song.

28. Learned that in the 1950's, Angliss was known as being the richest man in Australia.

29. Learned that there's a cooking school named after Angliss.  He helped finance it.

Here's the website of the school.  They offer degrees in food, tourism, and hospitality.  

30. Went to the YouTube channel of bronibronimusic.  I love the song that plays on the channel page.

I like this guy's voice.   And his video is very entertaining.  

I think this guy has talent.

I like his spirit.  

Maybe he'll be famous one day.

31. Went to Broni's website.

His bio says he grew up in Melbourne, but now lives in San Diego.   

32. Liked the name of one of Broni's albums.   Every Thought I've Had Since I was Ten.  

I like this far.

He says he'll send you free songs.  You just have to give your email address.   I'll probably do that.

33. Started watching Broni's video "You Can Dance At Any Age"

Broni is adorable.  I hope he ends up being very successful.   He deserves it.

34. Started to watch a Broni vlog episode. 

He has a Australian-American hybrid accent.

I like the scene with his dogs.  It's pretty funny.  

In the video, Broni is hired to serenade some girl. I can't help but think of the episode of Modern Family with  Edward Norton.

I'd be embarrassed if someone was hired to sing to me.  

I also think it would be embarrassing to be at a show and then have the singer sing directly to you.  You know how they sometimes walk around and sing to individual people? Some people seem to really enjoy it. I'd feel humiliated.  Why?   I don't know.

35. Listened to the Broni song I downloaded.  It's called "Trying to Believe".

I like it a lot.  

36. Started to look at more of Arthur Chapman's plant photos

37. Thought this Early Nancy flower looked interesting.

38. Liked this photo of Kneed Wallaby Grass.

It reminds me of birds...maybe.  Or some type of flying insect.

39. Thought of hope when I saw this photo.  I'm not sure why.  

The plants in the photo are called Stonecrop.  They're growing among rocks.

I think maybe there's something hopeful about seeing a plant in a place where it's not expected—like among rocks.  

40. Thought this Grass Trigger-Plant looked a bit creepy.  The flowers seem to be sticking out their tongues.  

41. Consulted Lord Wiki about the Kangaroo Apple.  He says the fruit is poisonous.  


It has a chemical in it called Solasodine.   Solasodine is sometimes used in the manufacturing of birth control pills.

42. Saw that Kangaroo Apple comes from the family Solanaceae.

The Mandrake is part of that family too.

Oh, and I just learned another Harry Potter thing.  JK Rowling didn't make up the thing about the Mandrake's scream being fatal to those who hear it.  It's an old legend.  

Nightshade is another member of the Solanaceae family.  Was that the plant mentioned in The Hunger Games? 

43. Learned from Lord Wiki's cousin that the plants in The Hunger Games trilogy were Nightlock not Nightshade; but it's believed that the plant name was created by combining two notorious poisonous plants; Nightshade and Hemlock.

The plant itself may have been hybrids made from the two.   

44. Learned that not everyone in the Solanaceae family is poisonous.  Some of them we eat—potatoes, Tomatoes, Eggplant, and Capsicum.

Tobacco is also part of the family.

45. Thought this Black-anther Flax-Lily looked creepy.    It looks like some kind of wasp insect got his head stuck in the flower.  

46. Read the first few chapters of Dining with Devils.

I'm trying to think of how to say this....

Let's see....

Just as there's something about Asian food not made by Asians, there's something about Australian fiction not written by Australians.

I haven't read much of that, so my opinion doesn't mean much.  

This is what I do notice, though, about Aalborg's writing, and a novel I once started to read online.

With most Australian books I read, Australian stuff is mentioned every so often. It's not too frequent.  Sometimes I'll even forget I'm reading an Australian novel. Then something will pop out, and I'll think.  Oh yeah!  They're in Australia.  

In Aalborg's book, there's frequent reminders that the book takes place in Australia.  There's been mentions of Eucalyptus trees, Magpies, John Howard, Bull Ants, Stringy Bark trees.....

It's almost like these non-Australians are trying to hard to push the whole Australia thing.

Or maybe it's my imagination.  

I'm sure there are Australian books that mention a lot of this stuff.   Maybe I'm being too picky and negative because the author is not Australian and seemingly right-wing.

He uses the term "blood-thirsty Aboriginals".  I'm hoping he's just providing the viewpoint of the character who said it.  But I'm not sure yet.

I'm going to keep on with the book; and I'll try not to be too prejudice about it.  

47. Thought maybe the frequent mention of Aussie stuff is not about Aalborg failing to be subtle enough.  It might just be the type of book.   On the book cover, under the title, it says A Tasmanian Thriller.  Setting might be a huge aspect of the book.   In some other Australian novels I've read, the setting is not a huge aspect of the story. The book just happens to take place in Sydney, Melbourne, or some other place.   The writer doesn't make a big deal of it.


I think with authors like Tim Winton, there is more attention paid to setting.   I don't remember Winton doing an excessive amount of Australia-dropping in Cloudstreet; but I do remember him mentioning Norfolk Island Pines, and the names of cities (Geraldton and Perth). He also mentions some street names.  

48. Sad to see that a horse died during a race.  Her name was Crystal Lily.

It's suspected that she had a heart attack.

The jockey riding her was injured.  Hopefully he'll be okay.

49. Learned that a boy may lose his sight because he was attacked by a Magpie.

I think I shall avoid ever going to Australia in September.  I guess that's when the Magpie's attack; or do they do it in August and/or October as well? 

50. Consulted Lord Wiki.  He says it's Spring in general.  So that would be September through November.


He talks about it more in another section.   He says the swooping time is from late August to early October.

51. Learned from Lord Wiki that some Magpies are extra aggressive.   If that's found to be the case, permission is given to destroy the bird.

I thought all Magpies were pretty much equally aggressive.  I couldn't see the point in destroying one that harmed a human.  What would be the point besides revenge...which is pretty damn pointless.

I can kind of understand, though, if extremely aggressive Magpies are rare.  If there's one that's extremely awful, maybe it's best to euthanize it.  

It's not just for the sake of humans.  Might they attack other animals as well?

Although how do they know the Magpie is awful?   Do they track its behavior for awhile before killing it?  What if it was a nonviolent Magpie and he was just having a particularly bad day?  

How can they tell which Magpies are most aggressive?