Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A quiet Easter

Anne was away camping with one of her sons and his family and Joe was in Canberra with Kate so I just sat in front of my computer for most of the time. But I got a lot of writing done so that was good.

My usual breakfast haunts were closed for Easter so I just went to Stone's Corner.  There are about six cafes in a row there so a couple were open and the breakfasts there are good. I did go to Buranda on the Saturday, however, as that is not an official holiday.  The restaurants were however all closed.  But Woolworths was having a sausage sizzle so I had some of that.  I like sausages so I was quite happy with that.

For my evening meals I had stuff out of my freezer -- which was excellent.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Cheese quest

When I was helping to bring up kids many moons ago, computer games like Kings Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest etc were all the rage.  My present quest is obviously much less important than that but it has some importance to me.

Going back further: When I was a kid in the '40s and '50s there was no variation in what cheese we ate.  It was always Kraft cheddar cheese in the blue packet and with the silver foil inside.  That it didn't need refrigeration even in the tropics was probably part of its appeal.  And I don't think our household was much different from any other at the time.  I think Australia had something of a cheese monoculture at that time.

As time went by however, the available types of cheese proliferated -- and Kraft cheddar faded from view.  But the variety did not conquer all.  What happened was that a new monoculture arose: "Tasty" cheese arose to rule the roost.

And like a good Australian, I too for many years mainlined on Tasty.  Recently, however, I have looked outside my rut a bit and have tried some other cheeses.  And as part of looking more widely, I wondered if you could still get the old Kraft cheddar.  Rather to my surprise I found that I could.  My local Woolworths has it in a small corner down the bottom of one of its shelves.

So I wondered how it matched up against more modern cheeses.  I bought a packet. And it was still quite pleasant but a bit bland.  It goes very well as grilled cheese on toast however.  So Kraft cheddar was the beginning but not the end of my quest.

Other cheeses I have tried include Club Cheddar from the Mary Valley (Queensland) -- with pickled onion in it -- and Cracker Barrel black label.  The Onion cheese has the best taste in my view but both are a bit too crumbly for me.

So my quest continues. Is there a cheese with a strong cheesy flavour that is not crumbly?

Friday, March 11, 2016

A dinner with JM

I am rather bad at keeping up with old friends, which is rather regrettable, as I have come across some pretty fine people over the years.  Someone I saw a lot of around 20 years ago was JM.  He used to be my repairman for wonky Amiga computers.  Whenever I arrived at his shop, however, we would have a chat, which we both found rewarding. I think I had a lot of influence in getting him interested in real estate and he got me into options trading on the stockmarket.

Options trading is a bit of  a mug's game, I have concluded.  It's only the stockbrokers who do well out of it.  By the time JM and I both gave it up he a had lost big money and I came out about square.  But real estate has been kind to both of us.

When the fashion for Amiga computers passed, I lost touch with JM  for a long time.  One morning about a year ago, however he spotted me in a coffee place where I often go and we caught up with one another.  Since then he has been helpful to Joe in getting all my old Amiga gear going again.  Joe remembers spending years on the Amiga when he was a kid so likes to have an Amiga still available

Anyway, I woke up to myself and shouted JM and his lady a dinner at the Sunny Doll tonight, with Joe also coming along.  I am  resolved to keep in some touch from now on with the clever and pleasant man that JM is.

The Sunny Doll did their usual trick of putting before us some amazingly good Japanese food amazingly promptly.  We also arranged for JM to come over next Tuesday to do a bit more work on getting all my Amiga gear up to scratch.  I now have an Amiga hard drive going, which is a bit rare.

I am something of a sentimentalist, which is why I kept my old Amiga stuff.  I thought some of the kids might one day want their own kids to experience the old games.  And I always suspected that Joe would turn out to be a sentimentalist, since both his mother and father are.  And it has now happened.  He is sentimental about the old games and has in fact introduced some of his friends to them.  He and JM spent some time over dinner talking about them.

What is sentimentalism?  I think it is just an appreciation of how things once were.  Not all good resides in the present. It does not exclude being fully engaged with the present.  Certainly in his job as an IT professional, Joe is really at the cutting edge of how things are evolving.

The biggest sentimentalist in the family is Von, Joe's sister.  Mostly, to be a sentimentalist you have to have something to look back upon, so you usually become sentimental well into your adult life.  But Von has been sentimental since she was a little girl.  She has kept mementos of things she enjoyed throughout her life.  She is basically a very happy lady.  I think that is basically what underlies sentimentalism.  It is a capacity to enjoy many things.

A comment from my brother:

A view I can identify with. I still have my father's old rifle and I know every old tool in my tool box that Frank used to own -- and keep them in good order. Alas I have trouble passing the concept of history onto my children bought up with a throwaway society before certain possessions were supposed to last a lifetime or more. It is a rare pleasure that I fear few now understand to pick up an old hammer or pair of pliers and know that your father used to use the same tool.

Friday, March 4, 2016

A birthday

My brother CER has just had a birthday so I decided to buy him a dinner in celebration. He and his wife came along to my favourite Japanese restaurant near where I live and a few others came along to help with the celebrating. Anne came, Joe came  plus Jenny and Nanna so there were seven of us all told.

The restaurant was unusually busy but I had booked in advance so I got my preferred table and the kitchen was well prepared so our dinners came out as promptly as usual

We talked a bit about The Donald, with both my brother and myself saying we hope he wins.  I had my old faithful plumber over during the day and he also was hoping for a Trump win.

We washed our dinners down with Fourex Gold and Barossa pearl, which my brother declared he liked.  It's considered an unprestigious drop but that did not deter him.  Anne and I are very keen on it.  It was one of the earliest Australian wines but it went out of production in 1983.  Owing to popular demand, however, it was brought back a couple of years ago

We had quite as few dishes from the menu with some of them shared but they were all, as usual, good.  To save me the trouble of mentioning them, below is the sales docket I got.