Friday, July 28, 2006

Looking for magic


Birthday: 28th July 2006
Method: Pencil, then inked, scanned and tidied.
Comment: I finished this cartoon just after midnight last night. You have to have read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to get this. Time Turners let you travel back in time. Yeah baby!

Sorry the writing's a little small, if you click on the image you'll see a bigger version.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Farewell my youth!

Well, that's it, tomorrow is the last day of my twenties. I feel pretty much the same as I did when I was 19 going on 20. BLOODY DEPRESSED. Honestly, the numbering system really doesn't help your self-esteem very much. Why can't we just have, 1, 11, 111, 1111, 11111... and then 30 would just be 111111111111111111111111111111 and no one would give a damn. But noooo, we have to count in tens - bah I say!

And while it is very nice to be told "Wow, you don't look like you're going to be 30!", the surprise in people's voices, to me, has the subconscious message "hey man, that piece of fruit still looks kind of juicy but it's probably all dry and wormy inside..." Or maybe it's my own paranoia. And impending schizophrenia.

Maybe.

Maybe I just need someone to kick my arse.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Portal from Valve

I am very excited about this game, not because I will be able to play it, because I can't play first-person games without dry-retching, but because the intro is very well made and cute and funny and cool all at the same time.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=GWzmL05OlYA

Especially bit where the little person is looking at something across a chasm with a love heart above his head, and the computer voice goes "...you fail" and the little heart breaks. AwWWWww...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Frozen in time - boudoir photos

A friend of a friend (no, really!) was talking about how she did some photos in the altogether for another friend who was a photography major. She said that she might as well, so that she could look at them when she was old, and have a memory of a time when she was young and hot.

The idea intrigued me, because, quite frankly, I'm not getting any firmer or smoother in the near future, and I brought the topic up with the FG.

FG (suspiciously): I... see... Tell me again why you were thinking of doing this?
Me: So I can look back and admire myself when I was still hot!
FG (even more suspiciously): Why? Are you planning to be not hot in the near future?

He makes me laugh :)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Frugality: Bugger... oops, I mean, oh bother...

I started a blog at http://frugallady.blogspot.com in June 2006, but wasn't dedicated enough to post to it regularly. I've decided to absorb the posts from this into my current blog instead, and send frugallady out into Blogger world to be recycled.


Well, I usually go a little crazy around the month of my birthday so don't expect any frugal news here! A leather jacket, a trip down South with a girlhood chum... not to mention the water rates are due soon!

But I reckon that's what living frugally is about - cutting back on the things you don't really need, like takeaway lunches and parking next to work, so you can enjoy more important things; a fun lunch with the girls on Friday, a road-trip adventure with your best friend, a good quality item of clothing that will make you look fabulous and last years and years... as long as you spend within your means and still have a little to put aside :)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Dachshund Won't Go #3



Birthday: Finished 13th July 2006

Comment: Drawing hands is hard! But I'm getting there!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Nicole's birthday cake



It is the lovely Nicole's birthday this Saturday, and I e-mailed her a cake because I couldn't make it. I like the bold colours, but looking at it now I am thinking:

a) it looks like a toilet roll
b) I shall have to practise my shadowing, the cake is mysteriously floating!

"In shops now! The new Nancy Drew mystery: The Curse of the Haunted Bog Roll"

Humiliating dream featuring FLORAL PRINTS

What does this tell you about my self-esteem (oh, and also how shallow my subconscious must be)?

I had a terrible dream last night. A lot of it involved walking around my office building trying to find the secret entrance to the section I worked in (I later found it hidden in the back of a tea-room and had to squeeze through all these execs trying to have a meeting).

For some reason I had dressed myself in a long-sleeved top covered with little flowers and a long A-line skirt with big flowers on it. Both articles of clothing were made with stiff upholstery material and I looked like an enormous carpeted windmill.

I think I spent most of the dream hiding my face from passers-by and thinking "How did this happen? How? I don't even like floral prints!"*

When I woke up, the first thing I did was fling open my wardrobe doors to make sure nothing floral was amongst the clothes hangers.

*I have nothing against them, and when used in moderation on furniture, wrapping paper etc I quite like floral prints. But I cannot wear them. Ever.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Yi Mao or Rick Lee?



Little Bro also got himself a rabbit on the weekend. Apparently it escaped twice in the garden and he and Mum had to go chasing after it. They built it a cage with some chicken wire and it squeezed through it, so they had to get wire with smaller gaps and rebuild the cage.

When I arrived they were having a dispute about the name. He wants to call it Rick Lee, and Mum wants to call it Yi Mao, after Chang Yi Mao (who is someone well-known but for the life of me I can't remember why.) Her rationale is that the bunny isn't going to come when called because Rick Lee is a wishy-washy name.

I have no opinions on the matter either way, but I think I'm going to call it Rick Mao.



21st July 2006 - I asked Mum about the Zhang Yi Mao thing, and apparently he's the guy who directed "Raise the Red Lantern". Man, what a thoroughly depressing film that was. Anyway, mystery solved.

Home food: oyster omelette, tempura with rojak sauce

There's no need for that many words. I think the pictures speak for themselves:

Oyster omelette...



...served with chilli sauce...



...followed by shrimp, coriander and chopped chilli fried in batter...



...to be smothered in rojak sauce.



Mum got Little Bro to mix up the preliminaries for the rojak sauce.
Ingredients:

- he ko or sambal prawn paste (the jar had a very amusing label, a boy sitting on the world with two giant shrimp on either side. I wanted to keep it but Mum made me put it back in the bin. "There's plenty more in the shop! Just ask them for he ko!")
- assam (dare I gross you out? Well, alright. Little Bro found a hair in a small section of the assam paste. Mum was going "No, no, sometimes they leave fine roots in there from the plant," and then he showed it to her and she conceded that it was, indeed, a human hair.* We threw that section out but used the rest. What? Waste not, want not.)
- brown sugar to taste
- chilli sauce
- blitz peanuts in a food processor and add to the sauce

There is no use asking for measurements. Everything is "to taste".

* In fact, she made a very rude suggestion about where the hair may have originated from.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Yep, the big 3-0



My birthday's coming up soon! I'm having a Matrix dress-up party! And then I'm going on a road trip with my best friend from high school. Wooo!

30 things to do in my 30th year

Update (one year later): I think I only did two of these, and one was a year late :p

Inspired by Keri Smith's story in Wish Jar Tales, I have started compiling a list of things to do in my 30th year. I may not finish doing everything on the list. I may wish to do things on the list early (better hurry, less than a month till my birthday!) But at least I'll be doing and not just wishing. And also, I like making lists. I think they're fun.

So here is the start of my list:

30 things to do in my 30th year

1. Tell the people I love that I love them.
2. Buy a piece of art that I love.
3. Do all the Carmen Electra exercise videos.
4. Finish writing about the trip to Japan in February this year and put together an online journal with the photos from the trip (not taken by me. Oh, how I wish I had had a digital camera then!)
5. Build a portfolio of my work.
6. Grow, harvest, and eat my own vegetables.
7. Make a Malay honeycomb cake.

...to be continued!

Dachshund Won't Go #2



Birthday: Finished on 10 July 2006

Comment: How can something that looks so simple take so long?
You can see him rolling his eyes at his owner. The revolution has begun!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Finding a drawing style

I'm trying to find a drawing style.

But at the moment I can't seem to draw cartoon people. What should they look like? Big eyes? Small eyes? Big round cute faces? Stylish small pointy ones?

What about bodies? Little round manga ones? Tall lean cool ones?

I think my brain is too used to making sketches of real-life people and so keeps telling me that the cartoon ones I'm doing are wrong. They certainly do seem to take a lot of effort and that's not right. I don't mean that drawing isn't work, because to be good at something you need to work at it, but it was feeling very contrived, me trying to draw people.

I'm OK with inanimate objects. Just for fun I did a quick sketch of different types of underwear just raining down from the sky. Bloomers, french cut knickers, polka dot bikinis...

But what I really like drawing is animals. I love drawing cows. Cartoony cows with big smiles and bells around their necks. And I adore drawing sausage dogs.

But I don't know if anyone has ever made a living from just drawing dachshunds.

Like I said, this afternoon I struggled with drawing cartoons of people. For an hour I tried different people in different poses and each one seemed like a great effort. I wish I could draw like Ximena Maier from lobstersquad. Her work is so freeflowing and well, everything looks so happy! It's a good example for the best art, I think, like the best music and the best writing, it looks so easy that you think, gee, I can do that too!

After trying to force myself to draw cartoon people, and what's more, cartoon people that I liked looking at, I thought, well now, time for a little fun. So I started sketching the rest of my Dachshund Won't Go series. POW! In about 5 minutes I had drawn numbers 2 to 4.

I'll transfer them to a drawing program and post them as soon as I can :)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Dachshund Won't Go #1



Birthday:
6th July 2006

Comment:
I know this looks overworked, like a child using chalk for the first time, slowly and painfully. Quite frankly, that's how I feel sometimes when I use my tablet. I just can't seem to get the same fine control that I have with pencil/pen and paper. Still, it's nice to play.

I also have a very soft spot for dachshunds, and anyone who has had one knows that when they plant those chubby paws on the ground and refuse to move, nothing will make them go! This one isn't too bad though, he's only just seen something and wants to investigate. I think I shall do a whole "Dachshund Won't Go" series showing all the contortions they can use to convert 8kgs of dog into 100kgs of solid rock.

Roast Duck



Birthday: 6th July 2006

Comment:
The last post made me think about roast duck, and I thought about how yummy they look hanging up in the glass display case near the front counter of restaurants. Some people get turned off by seeing them whole, but I don't mind.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Home food: leftovers, kiam chai teng and keropok



I visited my parents last night, but unfortunately Mum was working the afternoon shift, and wouldn't be back till 9.30pm. So I did my usual thing of giving Dad a hug and then letting him get back to watching TV, chatting to my brother, and my favourite part, exploring the fridge for leftovers - woohoo!

Here is what I ate last night (and I apologise for the lack of photos but I'd forgotten to bring the camera along):

I started with chai poh omelette*, chicken cooked in ABC (sweetened dark soy) sauce and some rice on the side. At this point Dad shuffled into the kitchen (must've been an ad break) and said, "There's some kiam chai teng** with roast duck on the stove! Very nice!"

So of course I had to have a bowl of that as well. My brother wandered into the kitchen from his room and added his commentary: "Mum and Dad got a roast duck yesterday but it was tough so Mum made it into soup."

The soup was basically kiam chai, a couple of tomatoes and chopped up roast duck from the Chinese restaurant at the local shops, but as usual, my mother made it into gustatory poetry. It's a sourish soup, with the sourness of the kiam chai perfectly balancing the sourness of the tomato (which also adds a nice colour), and lots of duck meat to chew on. Duck is quite a fatty meat, so you have to skim some of the fat off the top of the soup.

I then noticed a large container of, oh sweet Molly Brown, could it be? Yes! Keropok! I'd had an inexplicable craving for this on Sunday, and lo and behold, it turns up at my parents' house. Creepy.

Apparently one of my cousins had been in town for a day (he works for an airline) and delivered some goodies to my parents from my auntie. Mum then fried them up into delicious expanded crispy goodness. Until I post a picture, please visit keropok.com to see what I'm talking about.

Keropok is Malay for prawn crackers, but unlike the ones you find at Asian restaurants, all gluten with a hint of prawn, keropok from my the country I grew up in is made from actual ground up prawns. It's a little thicker and crunchier, and more, I'm not sure how to describe it...it's like the prawn crackers in restaurants are shadows of keropok, or perhaps they used to be keropok before they died and became tasteless prawn cracker corpses. I even like the name, it sounds so crispy. It's also a different colour, white with a pink border. If I have time I'll add a picture to this post showing you what I mean*****.

In the same container were some keropok I hadn't seen before, they were yellow and a little unevenly bulgy on the surface. Nice though, more of a dessert keropok as they were a little sweet with a hint of bitterness. They tasted like the blinjo*** crackers form the Chinese supermarket, but without the sticky caramel sauce. There weren't that many left in the container, but greed was quickly overpowering any of my civilised tendencies...

"That's OK," said my brother with a generous gesture. "You finish it."
"Is there any more?"
"Yeah, Mum made three containers worth."
"Where are they?"
"I finished one..." he said sheepishly.
"OK...that leaves one more..."
"She hid it."

Darnit! My mother, no doubt because her children are the comfort eating champions of the world, is the food hiding champion of the world. I gave up the last container of keropok as lost (until next week). Luckily I knew where Mum hid the chocolates she got from work****.

But only because she told me.

* To find out what chai poh is, see this post.
** kiam chai = salted cabbage, teng is Hokkien for "soup".
*** blinjo is a kind of seed that grows on a small tree (gnetum gnemon), it is mainly imported from Indonesia.
****grateful hospital patients = many many many boxes of chocolate.
*****re-edited this post 10/07/2006 to add picture.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Benji



Birthday: Saturday, 1st July 2006

Comment: A rough sketch of my friend Ben playing network games with the guys on Saturday night. And his hair really does flick up like that!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Doggies



HAI, I'm Bill. That's my mum Jess in the next picture. Is that thing you're holding edible?



Can't you see I'm busy being beautiful?



And I'm spent. Take that thing away!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Last Sunday - Out On The Swan River



A-bakering we will go: Muesli cookies















Forgive me Farmgirl, for I have sinned.

My housemate made some delicious Anzac biscuits on Thursday night, and I took one in to work for morning tea, and also to show Em. However, I inhaled it for second breakfast and was just picking the crumbs from my keyboard before I realised what I had done.

Anyway, in the throes of guilt, I told the girls that I would make something similar to bring in to work on Monday morning.

I looked up a recipe for Anzac biscuits on the Internet, and the whole "heat up golden syrup in a saucepan with some bicarb of soda" thing was just too hard - I was in more of a "bake and pour" mood.

So I took the recipe for Farmgirl's Decidedly Different Chocolate Chip Cookies, but instead of chocolate chips, I added a cupful of muesli (Lowan's I think) and a cupful of sultanas. I also overmelted the butter by leaving for too long in the microwave, so that instead of being soft, it was more of a murky oil. The mix was quite dry, and I had to cup and squeeze it in my hands to make it cohere into little flat discs.

I baked them in a 180 degree (Celsius) oven for 15 minutes. They were still soft when I took them out, but they hardened as they cooled. (I hate the way cookies do this. Despite knowing that they're going to harden, you always prod them anyway and start panicking when your finger almost impales one.)

Despite my efforts, they tasted delicious. With a tender crisp shell that melted in your mouth (I love brown sugar in cookies), I'm looking forward to playing with this recipe again, perhaps making chocolate chip cookies for real next time, or nuts, or M&Ms. The mix yielded about 30 medium sized cookies, a great number to keep in the biscuit jar, or to take two-thirds to work and still leave enough at home to last you the weekend.