“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Kiwi entertainment summary, June 2008

Last Friday I took the day off work and went with Darin to Field days, the largest agricultural show in the southern hemisphere. There were tractor races, a Rural Bachelor of the Year competition, and a special exibit on tuberculosis, carried by possums and spread easily to cattle and deer (farmed in NZ). I wanted to see the castration tool in action, and had a great idea that I should ask for a volunteer to demonstrate. Heh heh. I make myself laugh. We looked at options for getting some storage on our land, and these shipping containers might be the answer. There are plenty of options to consider. There were good deals to be had at Field Days, so we bought an electronic dog training collar (tri-tronics), a small generator (Honda), a possum fur and wool blend hat and scarf (gift for my niece so she can stay warm when she goes to the South Island of NZ), a curved knife with handles on either end for cutting pumpkins and squash, and a new scarf for myself.
Stephanie and I took the dogs to Karekare beach for a hike. The falls are a short walk from the parking area and it looks like a great swimming hole in summertime.
The NZ All Blacks played England at the Mount Eden stadium and tickets were all sold. We had a great time watching the All Blacks dominate England. England scored a few times because of this great player, Topsy Ojo-this man can run!
We got to see the Haka performed- so awesome!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Important movie review

This movie is hysterical. I haven't laughed so hard since I saw Black Sheep. There is nothing like this. An instant classic. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Zombie ("violent" movie trailer- obviously fake violence ala Troma films). Here is the website for the movie.

Just for the record, to prove I'm not totally depraved and morally bankrupt, I saw two of the International Human Rights Film Festival documentaries. Fighting the Silence, about the stigma, frequency, and silence about rape in the Congo, and Maquilapolis, about the giant factories that exploited the cheap labor and non-existant environmental regulations in Tijuana, Mexico. Actually both films featured strong women who were not putting up with the status quo and were fighting to raise awareness.

Today I watched Traffic, about the drug war in Mexico and the US, which I'd seen before but wanted to see it again. I also saw Notes on a Scandal, which was very well done by the main actresses. I had never seen The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly before, so when that came on, I had to watch it, at least just for the music. I'm not a big western fan, but it was entertaining. Slow, but good. It features a young Clint Eastwood. Wow it was made in 1966!
Also recently we finally saw An Inconvenient Truth. It was good, I liked how he made scientific results understandable to the general public. Still, I liked The Planet better, simply because it seemed to have a wider scope of the problem. That is, it focused on more than just global warming. Even if you think global warming is hogwash, when you see The Planet you realize that changing your lightbulbs to compact fluorescents is really a laughable exercise. We're all doomed, I say. Stockpile guns, canned food, and water, because this world is overpopulated. Oh well, easier to look the other way. Who cares about the toxic electronic waste poisoning the Africans? Lets watch another movie.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sausagefest and SkyTower

Two fellow foodie friends in Auckland, Steve and Holly, hosted a sausage-making and eating afternoon that we fondly referred to as Sausagefest. We made 5 different kinds: lamb merguez, chicken habanero, hot italian sausage, bratwurst, and russian beef. I use spice mixes from Penzey's, a company that I respect enormously for the quality and availability of convenient mixes (such as this). They have a grinding attachment for their mixer, which greatly speeds the process of stuffing the casings. Still, the volume of sausages we made took several hours. But what a great excuse to drink wine and then eat an amazing meal. I also made the black bean, corn, tomato, green pepper, and cheese salad. The dressing for this salad was olive oil, white vinegar, a couple chipotle peppers, 2 cloves garlic, and about 1/4 cup cilantro leaves blended together.

Today I've prepared some chickpeas (garbanzo beans) that I bought dried and soaked overnight. They boiled for about 1.5 hr, and now I think I'm going to make hummus. Most of the recipes call for tahini, which I don't have, but it seems simple to make. I just need to find my sesame seeds. My spices cabinet is a bit chaotic, despite a recent cleaning. I have a tendency to stockpile spices. They have enormous value to cooking.
My niece arrived on Friday from Rochester, Minnesota. I went to the top of Sky Tower with her yesterday, where we had pretty decent views, despite the rain showers moving through. Steph nearly fell out the window but caught herself on the railing.

Fortunately she didn't fall, but we got to see someone jump, and that was a good thrill. There are glass blocks in the floor, so you can see below you, and walking over them gives you a very odd sensation. Here again, our Entertainment Book saved us money with a 2 for 1 admission to Sky Tower, which is $25 per adult. They just expired June 1 (happy June!) so we need to get the new one. They are sold as a fund-raising scheme for various groups and clubs. We bought ours from a mental health group last year, and this year I think the SPCA will be our charity of choice. They do critically important work and yet get no monetary support from the NZ gov't. Check out this horrifying story of how the SPCA euthanized a cow whose leg literally fell off from neglect.

Also last weekend, Darin banged together the old fence from the front yard into two compost bins. I went over to my sister's house and scooped up cow poo into a bag and brought it back for the compost. Darin cleaned out the chicken coop too, and that got added to the grass clippings and other bits in the bin. Here's Ruby above the full bin before I covered it with black plastic. I didn't check the temperature, so I don't know if it ever got hot enough to be a "hot compost".
Isn't she a cutie? We are continuing to find teeth around the floor (she is teething). Fargo is facilitating this process by playing tug with her and various toys lying all over the house. He's very tolerant of her jumping on him. She likes to grab and carry his leash in her mouth on walks, which is very cute. Here she is being the darling princess she is:

FINALLY our chickens have started to lay eggs!! They are Araucana and Barred Rock crosses, and are laying brown and green eggs. Our black Leghorn is supposed to lay white eggs, and she's still not laying. We're not sure if our pure Araucana is laying or not.