28 October 2009

Beware of dodgy commentors!!

Someone new commented on my blog today and I, as usual, followed their link to see what their blog was like. It appeared to be an older Malaysian gentleman and all or most of the blog was in Bahasa Malay with a load of followers shown right in the centre of the page. I'm describing this in detail because if you come across it, get out of there quickly!
I think it was when I clicked on his profile that it sent a stupid annoying virus to my computer which turns the volume right up and moos and baas and whistles. I don't know how to get rid of it and I'm bloody annoyed as I just bought this new computer two days ago. I hope one of my IT mates can help me sort it out. Until then I've got a stupid barnyard going on on my computer.
By the way, I do have anti-virus software installed and I also use comment moderation. But it happened when I clicked on the commentor's name to go to his blog. Sorry I don't have the name because I deleted it before I thought to report him, duh!
Be careful!

27 October 2009

Why I should never write poetry

Oh green tea,
how I love thee.
Your antioxidant power,
makes me stronger by the hour.
For good health, surely, you are the key.
(Along with a little dark chocolate)

23 October 2009

Nostalgic food #356. Pizza Toast

Pizza toast!
Originally uploaded by Shanti, shanti

Remember the days of living on nothing but beer, chips and tea with the odd kebab thrown in for stamina on a night out? In England we had pretty much anything on toast and cheap (yucky!) white bread was only pence a loaf.

I used to go round my (now) husband's house and they'd be eating "sauce sarnies". Yes, you've guessed it, any sauce they had in the fridge like brown sauce, tomato sauce, and/ or salad cream would go between two slices of Spar's cheapest. On a good night they'd buy a bag of chips between four of them and a few of those would go into the mix.

At my house we were civilised in that we used fire. By that I mean, we toasted our bread. It's be toast with tomato puree and cheese. But, if we were lucky, someone would have some cheap dried "herbes de Province" and those would get sprinkled on. Pure luxury!

So the other day I was in the mood for a bit of nostalgic eating but I decided to make it a bit more posh. Wholegrain toast, leftover tomato sauce from spaghetti, real cheese and fresh toms with a bunch of herbs inside. On the side I had, shock horror, some green salad. Both the nostalgic me and the grown up me were satisfied.

Two days later Mr. P made me this. I guess he's grown up too!
Mr. P's homemade pizza

16 October 2009

Sand animation

only I want to call it 'sandimation', but I'll resist. This video is so amazing that I had to steal it from Tina's blog, who I think might've stolen it from someone else's blog, and the love goes on...
Kseniya Simonova was the winner of the Ukraine's Got Talent contest.

10 October 2009

It's about time...

...for me to learn how to use my camera properly. Seriously, I've never learned how to use it properly and just fumble round with buttons until I get some sort of result, or worse, the opportunity is gone. I've somehow picked up this vague notion of adjusting for light conditions, but it was a few years back when I used film. In fact, I guess that's my problem. I was just getting the hang of film and then I got my DSLR in Japan and made the changeover about 4 years ago, but have never got to grips with the technology. And this extends to Photoshop.

I like to joke that hey, my photos are all natural. None have been touched up. The truth is it's only because I've got no idea how to use Photoshop. I've got a digital camera in my mitts, but my head is stuck in the film era.
The final straw was when I needed to write a bio and send a photo of myself for an article I recently wrote for matador.com. I looked in my files for a pic of me and proceeded to search for Photoshop on my computer. It had pretty much buried itself in the 'never used files' basement of my computer.

OK, I've got the thing open...OK, I've got the photo on the table...now crop, crop...hmmmmmmm? Right! I've found it! God, I'm such a dork! OK, I've cropped the photo to the needed size and save. Shit! No! Dammit! I fricking went and rewrote the original file, didn't I? Since it was a photo a student had taken of me in Thailand I guess I now have to practice some serious Buddhist non-attachment and say goodbye to that one.

There are two community ed programmes within driving distance of my house and I hope one of them has a teacher who is up for a challenge.

08 October 2009

A little something for the writer on the go

One of my Twitter contacts just Tweeted this. If you live in the normal world, you can get it as an app for your iPhone. If you live in New Zealand where we are afraid of such high fallutin' technology mumbo jumbo, you can just use it on the net so that you don't have to look after random flash drives. Basically it means you can write or blog on your work computer and not have to email it to yourself, which is what I tend to do.
Check it out here.

07 October 2009

Do not adjust your set

The following is a test...

05 October 2009

Fighting the cold with grated apple and Brazil nut porridge

It's gone cold again! Time for porridge.
Originally uploaded by Shanti, shanti

Yesterday I didn't even need my cardigan, but today it's 12 degrees!? I hope this is the last cold spell before summer is well and truly here. I'm ready for the sunshine. I've even had to put the heater on again so it started off smelling of burning dust. Normally I associate that smell with the beginning of the cold days of the year, not the end. And I've just brewed my fifth cup of tea for the day!

01 October 2009


I've been here before. Very lucky not to have been directly involved, but deeply affected all the same. Flashback to South East Asia. I knew something bad was happening before my students as yesterday morning I saw the earthquake on the morning news before heading off to work. My students start at 5am so I knew they had no idea. It seemed that the shaking was all a bit scary, bit there was no reported damage and there was no tsunami. By the time I got to work, the reports were getting mixed with some saying there was nothing to worry about and others giving eyewitness accounts of villages being flattened. Of course, student after student came and went and I never mentioned a thing. I didn't want them to be upset at work all day if there was no reason for it. But, by the time I got home and checked the news the mood had changed completely. The death toll was already rising and many were missing.

This morning when my first student arrived in my room (I teach one-to-one)I could just feel the sadness before he sat down. I asked if he was OK, no answer. When I asked again, with as much English as he could muster, he said, "I don't know what has happened.". At that point he pretty much broke down crying and although I'd been practically holding my breath until that point I, too, started to tear up. I got up to get a box of tissues out of my drawer so we could each partake.

His Aunt, either his sister or sister-in-law, and his 5 year old niece are missing, but since his village has been wiped out he's already decided they are dead. I felt ridiculously helpless...and sad.

I think he just wanted to sit down for a while and talk about life in Samoa. In effect, his reflections seemed to be asking why he is here in New Zealand when he should be back in Samoa where life is simple and you don't have to pay for food, housing, and water. You just build your house, grow your food, and spend time with your family.

Later I found out that another employee has heard that his father is dead and one more has a brother who is in critical condition. There's also a lovely young guy who is always singing in the cafeteria. He was reading the paper this morning at work and recognised three names in the headlining story about the deaths. Those were his three little cousins. Shocked, he changed into his street clothes and headed off home in his car.

I really don't know what to do. I know there's nothing I can do to fix this, but I guess it's human nature to keep thinking it through as if you could actually come up with something. All I can do is write this. Write to process, write to inform, and write as a memorial to those who are so loved and missed.