See the tomato on the right? That's a regular tomato.
The one on the left is...different, as you can see when you slice it open:
Do you see it? How about a close up?
Mmmmm? Not so gooey?
The special tomato is an Intense Tomato - marketed as the world's first non-leaking tomato (and apparently, these were bred naturally from a wild variety of tomato, not genetically engineered). They have more meat and less gel, so when you slice them you don't get that splat of liquid on your cutting block - and aside from a somewhat less damp texture, they look, feel and taste the same as a regular tomato. Pity that they cost more.
I know this might be old news to someone in Europe since Intense Tomatoes were introduced there a couple years ago (and I think they may have been sold in the States since last year?), but they've only recently become available in Australia. I can't think of a better market for it than Oz, since Aussies have made the humble ham, tomato and cheese sandwich into an art form...and now it's an art form that no longer has to be soggy.
What do you think? Would you try them, or have you already? Or would you rather stick with the regular tomatoes?
As a die hard nerd boy, Ben was dying to see Avatar. It was released in Australia yesterday, so we toddled off to the theater to check it out last night. I knew nothing about the movie – I hadn’t seen a trailer or hadn’t read about it online. I was the blankest blank slate you could imagine.
And I think what I’m about to write may bring on the wrath of nerds.
As with virtually all of James Cameron’s films, it could have used a good heavy handed edit. I’m not opposed to 3-hour movies on principle, but if you’re going to keep your audience holding their pee for that long, you need to make every scene count. After about the fifteenth sequence of the hero learning the ways of the Native Americans Na'vi, I was starting to squirm and think, “OK. I get the point. IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON.”
And the animation. It was impressive. Beautiful, even. But everything was so…smooth. New. Nothing looked like it belonged to a old, historic race. I wanted to see something old, something worn, something used, something that spoke of being passed down from generation to generation. Instead, everything was so shiny and pretty, smooth and glowing, tinted like it had just popped out of an Easter egg (the entire color scheme could be summed up in three words: "My Little Pony"). Creating accurately worn textures is difficult, and I could see the problem with trying to apply them to a film where a good 95% of the visuals are computer generated. But I need a bit more meat with my gravy, and the entire thing felt more like a sophisticated cartoon than a punchy live action movie.
None of this is to say it was a bad movie. The plotting may have been a bit cliché (to be truthful, it reminded me of nothing so much as a sci fi version of Dances With Wolves), but that’s to be expected and still doesn’t make it bad as such. And I do think it’s the kind of thing that is meant to be seen on the big screen, so if you want to see it, make sure you go before it leaves the theaters. That said, I also don’t think it’s the magnificent epic it’s being lauded as, either; ironically, I think the recently released game would probably be fantastic, especially since the animation effects would be really well suited to that medium.
At any rate, it probably says something about my feelings on the film that that the best part of seeing it with my husband’s Nerd Herd was the conversation after the film: “Wow! Can you imagine the server farm it would have taken to render all of that CGI?!?” Geek boys. Gotta love ‘em!
Righty-o, nerds. Bring on the flames.
P.S. I could also add that it irked my graphic designer background that the title font for such a high budget movie so greatly resembles an overused font that comes as standard on half of Windows's operating systems. But I won't. Because that would just be obnoxious.
We're going to an ultrasound tomorrow. The ultrasound. The big one. The one where we find out if we're having girls or boys. This is better than Christmas. It's better than Disneyland! I may not sleep tonight...I really, really need to find something to distract myself with.
A couple of days ago, I was tidying up a section of the loans desk at work when a spider suddenly jumped out at me from between some pieces of paper. I screamed at the top of my lungs, then bolted for my supervisor, begging her to come out and kill the evil arachnid. “What kind is it?” she asked idly. I stared at her for a moment, then shrieked, “Well, I didn’t stop to ask it's name!”And then two days ago, as I was cheerfully lifting books out of a bag, there was another one – the same kind as before, but much larger. I think I may have actually crossed the room without touching the floor.
The funny thing is that before I came here, I was never frightened of spiders. I’d often even pick them up and gently transport them outside the house so they could continue their good work of killing obnoxious insects. But the spiders here…they’re different.
Some are huge and hairy like the huntsman, and although they’re not my favourite, I’ll tolerate their (largely unthreatening) presence as they’re excellent hunters. Even if they do get in my windows. But the others…some, like the redback, are shiny, bulbous, and capable of killing a child with neurotoxic venom. Another is the notoriously aggressive Sydney funnel-web, which can bite through a shoe and are among the most dangerous spiders in the world. Or the golden orb weaver, which is gets snapped doing things like this:
The ones I found in the desk and in my book bag aren’t deadly, but because white-tailed spiders roam instead of spinning webs, they’re certainly more likely to startle you by springing out of unexpected places. Although they’ve been falsely accused of causing necrosis, a bite on the hand and can still make your forearm swell up…unpleasant, to say the least, and still worthy of death by total squishification in my book.
Whew. There. I think I managed to sufficiently distract myself from our ultrasound tomorrow. Or maybe not. Only 16 hours, 20 minutes to go...
P.S. Clicky to vote in the Oz Bebbehs gender poll if you missed it!
Some men are Baptists, others Catholics; my husband is a ham man.*
He reserves a fervent passion for ham that is well beyond the ken of most of us mere mortals. Last year, when Ben's mother asked me what he might like for Christmas, I told her, "Get him a ham." She stared at me doubtingly. "No really," I said. "Get him a ham. He'll love it."
My mother-in-law might have doubted my suggestion at first, but anyone who saw the gleam in Ben's eye when he saw that ham - an entire half leg, just for him - had to become a believer. Man, he loved that ham.
It lasted two entire weeks, even though any time you asked him what he wanted to eat, he'd immediately reply, "Ham." He slaved over the meat, carefully slicing off tender morsels for snacks and countless sandwiches, religiously rinsing and baptizing the cotton ham bag in a water and vinegar solution every few days before tucking the meat carefully back into the bag to be returned to the fridge. The day the last salty scrap was scraped from the bone was a black mark on his calendar.
Today as we were leaving the grocery store, I saw a sign at a local butcher's advertising Christmas hams. Resigning myself to the meat-filled fridge I knew lay in my future, I turned to Ben and asked him if he'd like to go order his ham. His head shot up, his eyes filled with a crazed gleam, and it took him about a millisecond to yelp, "YESI'llgoyouwatchthegroceries!" and tear off in the direction of the butcher's. A $10 deposit later and we have our names down for a juicy smoked ham that will arrive sometime later this month. Well, I say "we". I mean Ben.
Like any good nerds, Ben and I wage a constant battle about which are superior: pirates or ninjas.
I'm firmly on the side of ninjas. Ben is a pirate groupie. So when it comes to the Oz Bebbehs expected next year, we'd clearly reached an impasse. Forget sex, money or religion - how do you raise children in a house divided over such a critical matter as who would win in an epic pirate-ninja battle? So we decided: if we had girls, they'd be ninjas like their brilliant mama. Boys would be pirates, like their well meaning but clearly deluded daddy (ahem).
And with the big, gender revealing ultrasound only a week away*, the question of the day is: will the Oz Bebbehs be pirates or ninjas? Keep in mind that they're identical twins, so we'll be getting a matched set -- none of this one-of-each business.
Here's what the plethora of stunningly inaccurate old wives' tales have to say on the matter:
I didn't have morning sickness early on (I did have it, but it didn't show up right away).
I'm looking good during pregnancy, or so Ben tells me...although he'd probably still say that if I stopped bathing and grew a snaggletooth, because he knows what's good for him.
I crave salty/sour/savory foods, not sweet.
Average baby heartrate is below 140 (boys supposedly have lower heartrates than girls).
My belly looks like a basketball, not a watermelon.
I'm carrying high.
The hair on my legs isn't growing any faster than it did before.
My feet aren't any colder than they were pre-pregnancy.
My nose hasn't changed during pregnancy (who the hell comes up with this stuff?).
The Chinese Gender chart says girl.
And what do the parents-to-be think? Well, as much as I'd enjoy getting to have the upper hand in all matters PvN in our house, I think we're having boys. No real reason why, but I will be genuinely shocked if they turn out to be ninjas.
Ben, on the other hand, is 100% convinced we're having girls. When I asked him for a reason, he said, "Having twin teenage girls with boys sniffing around them would be serious karmic payback for all of my horny adolescent fantasies." Can't argue with that, can you?
But really, let's be honest: we have a 50/50 chance, and one way or the other, either Ben or I will be right. So what do YOU think?
Everybody has one in their life. You know the Person. Someone you've known for years (and are probably related to), but don't really know well. Someone who has no discernible hobbies or interests, who you end up buying a fruit basket for every year because, well, at least it's edible and everyone has to eat, right?
Last night, I shopped online and cheerfully clicked Buy on the very last item for the very last person on my Christmas list, revelling in the bliss of knowing that all of my shopping was done for this year - and by the first week of December!
And then I remembered my Person. The Person I forgot to put on my list. The Person who causes me shopping anxiety every year. I probably shouldn't even bother caring at this point and just grab a fruit basket, but I'm a middle child and we aim to please, so every year I still agonize over what to buy them.
What do you give to The Person in your life? What's your fallback present for someone you seldom see, never talk to, and yet are obliged to provide with something cheerfully wrapped every December 25? Please - give me your ideas!
Well it's December 1, which means that for the second year running, the Movember challenge is over! To refresh your memories, here's another look at Ben's 'stache inspiration, as chosen by you:
Oh the humanity!
Let's take another look at how the mo was shaping up by Day 10:
And a gander at Day 18:
And last - but certainly not least - Day 30!
Pardon the squinty face - the lad was a bit short on sleep.
He didn't have the time to get the full length of The Derek, but I think he made a pretty good start, don't you? Thankfully, the lip sweater was annoying him enough that he shaved it off about 30 seconds after I took this photo, and I'm once again living with the clean shaven man I married. Bliss!