Friday, June 27, 2008

We're happy little Vegemites
As bright as bright can be!
We all enjoy our Vegemite
For breakfast lunch and tea!
Our mummy says we're growing stronger every single week
Because we love our Vegemite
We all adore our Vegemite
It puts a rose in every cheek!

Vegemite appears to be a typically Australian oddity. No other nation quite grasps our fascination with the spread, replacing it with poor substitutes such as Marmite. Perhaps you need to grow up with Vegemite to truly appreciate just how good the scrapings of the bottom of a vat of beer can taste.

It was invented, or discovered if you prefer, way back in 1922 by a young chemist with the impressive name of Dr Cyril P Callister, who was hired by the Fred Walker Food Company (which became Kraft Foods Limited in 1950) to make a spread out of brewers yeast. They wanted a convenient source of Vitamin B, and this seemed to be the answer.

So he developed this spread, and released it labelled "Pure Vegetable Extract". He then launched a competition so that the public could name the spread properly. In a remarkable twist of fate, or perhaps by some darker means, Fred Walker's daughter, out of all the hundreds of entries, won by naming it Vegemite.

The spread's popularity was not immediate. Marmite dominated the market, and people seemed reluctant at first to try the new option. But Vegemite was helped along by another invite to the public, this time to come up with a jingle which is now passed into each Australian fetus via the umbilical cord so that all babies are born knowing and singing the song transcribed above. Vegemite was also given a massive boost by being approved by the British Medical Association as a great source of Vitamin B.

During World War II, domestic supplies of Vegemite were severely restricted due to the demand from the armed forces. We shipped that stuff out to "our boys" like it was going out of fashion. But it wasn't. Demand for the stuff increased hugely over those years, and domestic sales soared after the war, partly thanks to the endorsment of various health professionals, and our own post-war baby boom.

Today, Vegemite's recipe is more or less unchanged and over 22 million jars are sold each year. Now that was a spread worth inventing.

All this because I wanted Vegemite on toast for breakfast this morning. Naturally, being good little Australians (and happy little Vegemites), we do have Vegemite in the house at almost all times. But we didn't have any bread.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I'm back, in all my multi-coloured glory. I don't know why I haven't blogged lately, perhaps because not much has really happened. I didn't get offered that job I mentioned in my last post, which spared me the awkwardness of refusing. However I did have another job interview yesterday afternoon, and I'm rather optimistic about this one. My current contract ends this Thursday, but neither my boss nor myself has really mentioned it... she seems to blithly assume I will remain here for at least a little longer, but I'm not so sure. The way she can't seem to afford to pay me is a bit of a turn-off. Either way, we'd better get this sorted out soon; we only have two days left! It's quite funny the way she's been correcting my minor errors over the last couple of days, exactly as if I'll need to remember the right way to do things beyond this week.

It'll be good to get full-time permanent work again; we'll really be able to start saving up to travel and stuff again. Stagnation isn't good for the soul. We've more or less made a committment to be overseas again in 18 months or two years at the outside.

Anyway, we found out today that our car has been fixed. Yay! It'll be nice to have our own car again; I always fail to recognise the current hire-car as ours, and I think we have visitors every time Aidan's home.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I didn't hear about that job yet. I doubt I'll be offered it, and I don't think I'll take it if they do offer it to me. It's not enough money, and I don't want to have to learn to drive.

It occurs to me that the ending of a particularly good book, movie, or television series, can be a very sad moment. I find that, particularly after reading a good book or series of books, I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do next. Suddenly a world I have immersed myself in has no more to offer me; the adventures are over, the characters have done all their author intended, and back into reality I am abruptly thrown.

I have just spent the last six hours with my eyes glued to youtube, unlikely as that may seem, having re-discovered an old favourite. Back in the 90's, BBC did a series called "Takin' Over The Asylum" - one series, no repeats, never heard anything more about it. But it was that rare thing: wonderful. Funny, sad, touching, bittersweet. Characters you couldn't not love, a story that couldn't fail to rivet you, and an ending that leaves you wanting more in the best possible way. Click here, and keep going through the whole six episodes, and if you don't at least nearly cry at least once, and at least nearly piss yourself laughing at least once, you're inhuman. Also, David Tennant in the role of Campbell is really hot.

And now it's over, again, and I'm lost, again. What do I do now? No mere RPG can stir up those emotions. No other story, written or acted, will make me feel quite the same way. Real life is just no substitute.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Well, I had my job interview this afternoon. I think it went quite well, although the fact that I don't have a car and can't drive will go against me. The job itself is as a "Senior Receptionist", which pretty much means "general dogsbody". That's the kind of job I like: endless variety, multi-tasking, and a complete lack of boredom. I hope to find out if I have the job by tomorrow afternoon.

Thanks to those who gave their good wishes by commenting on my previous post :)

In other news, our car is at the mechanics. They haven't had time to look at it yet, so we still don't know for certain what's wrong or how much it will cost to un-wrong.

In other other news... actually I don't think I have any. We're probably going to go and see Prince Caspian tonight. The Narnia books were among my favourite as a child; anything that could transport me to other realms than this sad reality was always a favourite. That still applies, really. Fantasy, sci-fi, even classics set in an age so different from my own time. So hopefully the movie will carry me away as easily as did the books.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I have a job interview tomorrow!

Monday, June 09, 2008

63 Random Questions I Stole From "A Bit Of Fluff"

1. The phone rings; who do you want it to be? Nobody really. I don't like phones too much. If it has to be somebody, it can be Aidan. If it's the home phone, I know it's my mother-in-law, because she's the only person who has that number.

2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart? I generally use a basket. Last time I used a trolley, I left it in a place I knew the trolley pick-up guys visited regularly.

3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener? Neither. I'm not very sociable as a general rule, but when I am with friends (ie, those I like and trust very much), I'm both.

4. Do you take compliments well? I'm getting better... but no.

5. Do you play Sudoku? Nah, I'm more of a words person than a number person. I do cryptic crosswords.

6. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, would you survive? I really doubt it, not for any length of time. I know enough to stay in one place. I'd probably be ok if I had my mobile phone, and if it had reception.

7. Do you like to ride horses? I used to, quite a lot. I haven't ridden in about ten years though.

8. Did you ever go to camp as a kid? Yeah, every year my school had camps. The best was to Central Australia – lots of hiking and climbing and stuff.

9. What was your favorite game as a kid? I was a solitary child in the bush, I played make-believe all by myself! I played every part in every story I could think of!

10. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew he/she was married, would you go for it? No way.

11. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you? Love should transcend religious beliefs. But I couldn't tolerate somebody trying to change my mind. (Intelligent debate is great, "I'm right because my bible says so" is not.)

12. Do any songs make you cry? Sometimes... it depends when I hear it.

13. Are you continuing your education? Sadly, no. There are a lot of things I want to know more about, there is so much to know and I know so little of it. I hope to study again at some point, when I figure out which topic I want to know about the most!

14. Do you know how to shoot a gun? No, but I could probably figure it out if I really had to.

15. If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you grabbed? I don't really have that many possessions that I value overly much. Probably just my mobile phone, so I could let everybody know my house burnt down.

16. How often do you read books? Very often, I love reading. Although I often have trouble deciding what to read, or re-read, so I might just save myself the trouble and not read instead.

17. Do you think more about the past, present or future? Probably the present. I have a terrible memory, and I have trouble putting faith in any imaginings of the future.

18. What is your favorite children's book? The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster. Full of puns and plays on words, which I love!

19. What color are your eyes? Blue-grey. More grey when I wear my contact lenses.

20. How tall are you? I dunno, about 165cm I guess.

21. Where is your dream house located? I don't have a dream house, or a location for one. There are too many wonderful places in the world to choose one, and far too many that I haven't been to yet.

22. Do you have a secret fetish? If I did, would I tell?! But I don't.

23. Have you tried sushi? Yes, it's quite nice, but not a favourite.

24. Have you ever taken pictures in a photo booth? Yes. Once. Wouldn't bother again.

25. When was the last time you were at Olive Garden? Is this some American thing? I don't know what Olive Garden is.

26. When was the last time you were at Church? I have never been to a church service. I went to a wedding in a church once, about 5 years ago.

27. Where was the furthest place you traveled today? Into the city and back, about a
14km round trip. On foot.

28. What was your favorite job? I'm not sure... all my jobs have been menial. Probably my current one or the one immediately before it; both office admin jobs.

29. Do you like mustard? Yuck yuck yuck!

30. Do you prefer to sleep or eat? I tend to eat out of boredom. But I guess I actually prefer sleep. Or rather, being in bed. Often with a book.

31. Do you look like your mom or dad? I looked a LOT like my mum when I was younger. Now I think I'm more of a hybrid, kind of both but neither. I have my dad's forehead.

32. How long does it take you in the shower. Depends how keen I am to get out and go to work!

33. Can you do splits? Nope. No way. Never have.

34. What movie do you want to see right now? The new Indiana Jones, and/or Prince Caspian.

35. If you could fast forward your life, would you? No, I think I'd miss all the good bits. I wouldn't even want to miss the bad bits; after all, how do you know what's good if you've got nothing bad to compare it to?

36. What did you do for New Year's? I don't remember. That's not because I got drunk; I'm almost certain I didn't. I probably blogged it, so just find that entry!

37. Do you think The Grudge was scary? The what? If that's a movie, I haven't seen it.

38. Could you relate to a character in Mean Girls? Thankfully, no. They were all equally horrid. Although I suppose the main character sort of slightly redeemed herself at the end.

39. Do you own a camera phone? Yes, it comes in handy sometimes. Every now and then I see something that nobody would believe if I didn't have photographic evidence!

40. Do you have an "ex box" with pics and letters from past lovers? No. I do have a box full of “memories”, which may or may not contain some “ex-related” stuff, but I certainly don't keep things specifically because they're ex-related.

41. Was your mom a cheerleader? Ha. Ha. Ha. No. She did sort of attempt to become a model at one point in her youth.

42. What's the last letter of your middle name? E.

43. Do you like your middle name? I guess it's ok. It's a derivative of my mum's first name. I don't really use or think about my middle name very much. (Although I do tease Aidan sometimes because he forgets how to spell it!)

44. How many hours of sleep do you get a night? It varies insanely. Just depends what I'm doing before and after sleep, as to how long I stay up and what time I wake up.

45. Do you like care bears? I barely remember them.

46. What do you buy at the movies? Popcorn! I often don't get a drink because then I'll need to pee halfway through the movie, but if I do it'll be a small soft-drink.

47. Do you know how to play poker? No. I quite like watching people play, and laughing at how serious they are.

48. Do you wear your seat belt? Only in the car. My scooter has no seatbelt.

49. What do you wear to sleep? Jim-jams that look rather like a clown costume.

50. Anything big ever happen in your hometown? Bushfires are regular... also the yearly “Wool Week” - wool is the main industry in the area, so there's a festival for it, although I think that's dying out now.

51. How many meals do you eat a day? Depends how hungry I am.

52. Is your tongue pierced? No, I would never get my tongue pierced. Just thinking of the risks of facial paralysis and loss of taste... no way.

53. Do you like funny or serious people better? Probably funny people. Serious people sometimes make me nervous, but funny people are easy – I just laugh!

54. Ever been to L.A.? Nope, I don't really want to either. Maybe just for a day.

55. Did you eat a cookie today? No... but I did eat fast food for the first time in AGES.

56. Do you steal or pay for your music downloads? Depends... if I'm at home, and think of a song I want, I'll download it. But if I'm in a music store and see a CD I want, I'll buy it.

57. Do you hate chocolate? I hate liking it!

58. What do you and your parents fight about the most? I've only ever seen my parents fight once, and although the memory sticks out like a sore thumb, it's the aftermath I remember and not the cause. (Don't worry, everything worked out ok and they celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary tomorrow.)

59. Are you a gullible person? I don't think so... but if I was, I might not know.

60. Do you need a boyfriend/girlfriend to be happy? Nah. I mean, being married is fantastic and I wouldn't NOT be married for anything. But I was happy when I was single too.

61. If you could have any job what would it be? How can I get paid a lot to do very little?

62. Are you easy to get along with? I'm not sure... I often struggle with small-talk, so strangers may find me difficult or odd. To my friends/intimates, though, I think I'm good. I hope so anyway!

63. What is your favourite time of day? Nighttime. I've always preferred staying up so late I go to bed when others wake up!

Our car broke down yesterday. In a big way. Click click click click BOOM!!! Smoke smoke, no more driving, no starting, zip nothing nada. Had to get it towed home (fortunately less than a kilometre away), and we can't do anything about it until after the long weekend. Tuesday will be (hopefully) the first time a mechanic looks at it and tells us how much it'll cost to fix. Oh well, we do have insurance that covers some engine parts to a limited value. Things could definitely be worse. But we didn't get to go to the poultry show we were thinking about. (The Megg Miller mentioned in the article is my mum's boss, so we were going to drop in on her too.) So anyway, we're a little bit homebound, unless we feel like an hour-long walk into the city, which we did today. We were hoping to get some D&D books and an idea on how to actually play. But the books were too expensive, particularly as we may have to front up some dosh to fix the car shortly. Talk about a wasted walk! But Exercise is Good, right? I need more of it, my tummy's getting flabby again! Oh well, as long as my pants fit I'm not too fussed!

I'm really quite bored right now. Aidan's gone to bed because he's got an early start tomorrow, but I'm not tired yet and I don't work again until Tuesday. Speaking of work, and Tuesday, my recruitment agent is coming to visit because he's found a job he thinks I might be interested in. From what he's told me so far, I am interested, although they're offering a little less than I was hoping for. But they might negotiate. We shall see! I remain optimistic, as usual!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hello hello! Good news, everyone! (a la Professor Hubert Farnsworth.) I am in fact working every day this week! Yes, a five-day week. It's been a while since I've done that, I forgot what it was like not to have days off during the week! My boss is giving promising indications that I'll be working five days every week, but although things are looking up we are still unsure of the company's future after tomorrow anyway!

In other cheering news, New South Wales has expanded the rights of lesbian mothers. Children can now inherit money from their "non-birth parent", and both parents can now appear on the child's birth certificate. All that remains is for every other state to follow NSW's example. Apparently 71% of Australians now support the concept of equal rights for same-sex couples, which I think is great. It's only a matter of time before same-sex couples can marry properly, and adopt children, and have the same rights and benefits as heterosexual couples.

It is a darn good thing that I borrowed somebody's office key yesterday... because I got here 15 minutes ago and nobody else is here yet... If I hadn't had that flash of inspiration, I'd still be sitting outside!