this is not a competition

We are often warned not to take social media too seriously. People often selectively share life events on the good to amazing scale, and leave out the mundane to disastrous. Looking at the social media of one’s friends might lead one to believe that everyone has the cutest, most well-behaved kids; or that they are always getting flowers and presents from people; or that they frequently go to the beach, where they enjoy picnics with elaborate charcuterie platters.

I’m sure this is all very obvious to my readership and to most of my friends, and there’s no need to warn any of you about this; but while I thought I was also above this petty social media envy, I realised the other day that I am, quite possibly, not totally immune.

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Some time ago (has it been weeks or months? I’m not entirely sure. Timelines have become something of a blur, and perhaps not always relevant), my department was granted access to a new lunch room at work. We have been segregated from the main pharmacy since April (?) so we cannot use the kitchen space there. This new lunch room has the added perk of having a TV, so in my lunch breaks I sometimes watch TV.

Sometimes I watch the news, or a random cooking show, or some snippet of a random movie (SBS shows “world movies” during the day). If I can’t be bothered watching anything, I just put on the radio (ABC Classic, of course). Initially I browsed a lot, and I discovered that ABC have a channel dedicated to educational shows for primary and secondary school students, covering a broad variety of topics from physics and chemistry to history and social sciences. Often I watch this channel because I find it is more informative, interesting and useful than the news.

The other day, the program that happened to be on while I was having lunch was Lest we forget what? — a short show about the WWI Gallipoli campaign. I almost didn’t watch it because it is something that I was taught a lot about throughout school …or so I thought.

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reconsidering meat

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been watching a documentary series called “For the Love of Meat”, hosted by journalist turned farmer Matthew Evans. The main point of the series is to make people more aware of how their meat is produced, and how the animals are treated, particularly on “intensive farms”, where the focus is on high output.

In the introductory blurb, Evans says that he is a “dedicated carnivore”, and I actually think this is a really good thing because you’d expect these sorts of documentaries to be hosted by people intent on turning everyone into vegetarians. I feel like this documentary series is more about the question of how to farm meat sustainably and ethically, rather than the question of whether or not we should eat meat at all.

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winter is coming

It was quite warm on the week-end. Not uncomfortably so (not really anyway) but quite warm. Monday was ok, but then yesterday it suddenly got really cold. I think it was the first time this year that I actually thought “yes, winter is coming!”

I’m sure that I’ve mentioned in previous posts that winter is, in fact, my most favourite season of the year. Well, winter and autumn. Suffer through a Brisbane summer and you’ll understand why. Anyway, that’s why this change in weather has me quite excited. While other people are complaining about how cold it is, I’m just embracing it. It’s positively invigorating (although I will concede that it is anything but invigorating when you’ve just woken up and there’s no sunlight but you have to get up and go to work).

We did have a bit of a cold snap a week or two ago, but then it suddenly got warm again, so it was kind of a false alarm. It didn’t last very long either, and you could kind of tell that it was just a bit of a tease.

On to other matters, I also started watching Game of Thrones on the week-end. Yes, trust me to take three days to post about something that happened on the week-end. (I still haven’t gotten around to posting about “Wicked”, which I saw a month ago…) And, yes, by “started watching” I do mean season 1, episode 1.

A lot of people I know watch GOT, so I suppose it was kind of peer pressure, but I like to think that it wasn’t really peer pressure because I resisted for so long, and it was really my own choosing to watch it in the end (mostly). I generally don’t buy into hype, and prefer to wait for it to die down a bit before checking out a new book/movie/tv show/whatever. (It’s possibly why I haven’t seen a movie in the cinemas for over a year. Well, that and the fact that cinemas are expensive, and I’m usually too busy with work and other things anyway.)

So, with some new episodes of GOT released last week (or accidentally leaked, as I was informed), a colleague at work talked me into finally starting on GOT. I watched three episodes total and, actually, I think it was alright. A lot of people have told me previously that it’s just a whole lot of sex and violence, so I was kind of prepared for that. And I’ve been told that there are a lot of characters and different stories and people dying just as you’re starting to like them… But, apart from not being able to remember all of the characters’ names, I’m finding it not that hard to follow.

All in all, I suppose GOT has my tick of approval. But I’m not someone who can just sit in front of a TV or computer for a whole day (and night) and marathon a TV series, so I’m going to wait for the week-end or some other day to continue watching it. Well, that’s if I continue watching it. This won’t be intentional; it just seems like I’m also not very good at committing to watching complete series.

Well, either way, it kind of seems appropriate to start watching it now – what with our winer approaching, and their winter approaching (except that their winters can supposedly last for years – doesn’t that sound magnificent?)

cooking clean

I’d intended to do a lot of cleaning and tidying today, but ended up doing more cooking instead. I do like to cook, but I just don’t get the chance to cook often enough, since a certain member of the family tends to take care of that. Yes, I’m part of that generation that’s getting a reputation for never wanting to move out because of various reasons – not least of which are financial. But I digress…

I’ve learnt a lot of my cooking knowledge from my mum, but a lot of it also comes from TV cooking shows, such as ‘Ready Steady Cook’, which is always full of tips and easy recipes. Of course, ‘MasterChef’ is another favourite of mine in this category, and their “master classes” are always interesting (particularly Matt Preston’s cheat recipes), but I find ‘MasterChef’ is more useful for learning about flavour combinations and cooking terminology than for general know-how and recipes. Again, I digress – sorry.

I reckon that, in the past, I’ve been hesitant to cook certain dishes because I know the mess that it will create and/or I think about all the washing up I’ll have to do afterwards. (Yes, it seems that, as a general rule, the onus to wash up is never on the cook, but I sometimes feel obliged to clean anyway.) But I don’t mind doing the dishes so much any more. It’s never going to be my most favourite chore, but at least I dislike it less now. And so now I can cook a bit more freely.

Something else that I’ve learnt from ‘MasterChef’ is the importance of working cleanly and being organised in the kitchen. Watching Jamie Oliver’s 15 and 30 minute meals shows has also reinforced this. I’ve also noticed that Mum tends to clean as she cooks. I’ve been working on this, and it’s actually really good because there’s less cleaning at the end of it, which is great because that’s when I just want to sit down and eat. Plus, it feels like there’s less washing overall.

So today I cooked fish (not exactly sure which species – my dad bought it and left it in the fridge for me to find) with lime and cracked pepper. It was really tender – I’m surprised it turned out so well. I did think about following this up with some cupcakes or something, since it was early afternoon and, for some reason, baking is kind of an early arvo thing for me. But I’m not much into making sweets and desserts (love eating them, though!). Instead, I cooked up some thyme & oregano potato cubes.

I’ve only recently discovered how much I like oregano. It’s not that I’ve never eaten it before, but I’d never been able to pinpoint the taste because it’s always been with a number of other herbs and fragrances. I do like the smell too. Coriander is probably still my most favourite herb, but it’s got some stiff competition.

And the last dish today was a kind of stew that my sister and I created using pork and the classic mirepoix (a term I’m pretty sure I learnt from ‘MasterChef’). The aim of making this was basically to clear out the fridge a bit more, so we threw in some tomatoes and mushrooms as well. Of course, plenty of thyme, oregano and basil went in too.

Cooking probably isn’t something that I could do as a career, but I did speculate that if certain friends of mine follow through with their dream of opening up a cafe/bistro, I’d totally work for them every week-end (not going to give up Pharmacy, of course).

Rove lives!

Ok, I have decided that this is post-worthy, and I am actually going to write a post about this…

There are a number of reasons why I haven’t been watching ‘The Project’ very much recently (mostly because my dad insists on watching ABC News or something, and also because I don’t always leave work on time) but this week I’ve made a point of trying to get home early enough to watch it (except tonight when I had to stay back and do the late shift because the person who was supposed to do it called in sick).

Anyway, all of that isn’t actually the post-worthy part. The post-worthy thing is that Rove has been co-hosting ‘The Project’ this week! But more than that, he’s co-hosting with Carrie Bickmore and Peter Helliar, so it’s like a ‘Rove Live’ reunion! ‘Rove Live’ was one of my most favourite TV shows through high school. I have fond memories of watching ‘Rove Live’, and trying to quickly do my homework in the ad breaks. And I’d watch right through to the end credits and maybe even catch a bit of ‘Ten Late News’ before bed.

It would be cool if Rove could stay on ‘The Project’ for longer…

It’s been kind of weird not having Charlie Pickering co-hosting anymore. I was lucky enough to catch his final show, the farewell episode (I’d heard about him leaving the show but forgot it was his last day until I actually turned the TV on that night – hence why I consider it “lucky”). I had considered writing a post about it back when he left, but I must have forgotten or decided that I did not have the time/energy to dedicate an entire post to him…

Well, I will say that he was perfect for the show and the show was perfect for him. It’s a real shame that he left because, although the other male co-hosts that have stood in for him when he was on holidays or whatever, and also since he left – although they’re funny and they’ve done a good job of co-hosting, it’s just not quite the same.

And then along comes Rove, and he doesn’t seem to have changed at all… But, not to say anything about his intellect, he just seems more suited to something more light-hearted. I’m probably just too used to thinking of him with respect to ‘Rove Live’. Charlie was good because he seemed to know everything about everything, but he was quick-witted and his jokes were always funny.

One final thought: Maybe, if Channel Ten run out of shows to re-run, they should do ‘Rove Live’ re-runs. I’d totally watch that. Also, ‘Talkin’ about your generation’ – what happened to that?