Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Flying High


Got up. Showered, eventually. I couldn't find any soap. After looking around a bit I discovered that there were sachets marked "Cleansing bar" I think this must be PC for "Soap". Really!! Anyway, the stuff worked like soap, looked like soap, smelled like soap, and I passed on the taste test. 7:30 and we were all waiting outside for a quick ride to (I think) the James Street deli where I had ... yeah, ok, don't laugh ... the full cooked breakfast including bacon & scrambled eggs. The place is a delicatessen and cafe. While I was eating I spied some squid ink on sale. I've been wanting some of that since a couple of years back when I saw I saw an Irish cooking program on TV where they used squid ink in a pasta dish. Actually I think it was cuttlefish ink, like it's going to make a difference. I've tried making it with soy sauce, it would be good to try the real thing. I decided to risk MAF confiscating the stuff and bought some. While I was at the counter I saw a little tub of 'Zohra's Tamarind Chilli Jam' -- You know me, how could I resist. Smiles.


Went to the office for about an uneventful hour & then off to the airport for the flight home.

In flight entertainment

There was a chick-flick showing on the plane's movie screen, so I turned to the entertainment I'd brought. In other words, I finally finished Frederik Pohl's O Pioneer!. The basic story has a futuristic computer hacker join a sponsored immigration to a "peace planet" shared by humans and five other species of sentient aliens. I was disappointed. Firstly the plot was very predictable, like watching an American TV program, you knew almost immediately who the bad people were, and the ending when it came may have been pulled out of a hat, but you knew it was coming. Secondly it seemed as if he had hastily cobbled together two drafts of the book. For example fairly early in the story the protagonist decoded the alien TV coding so he could watch their programs for a mixture of amusement and to learn more about how his neighbours thought. Later under plot pressure he hastily learned how to decode the aliens news broadcasts. Huh? Finally the story stopped. Yes all the loose ends were wrapped up, yes the bad guys got arrested, but it was as if Pohl decided he'd written 250 pages and it was time to finish. In my opinion this is definitely not one of his best works.


I may buy some odd stuff overseas, but I always declare it & let the Agriculture & Fisheries (MAF) people sort out if I can bring it into the country. This time was no different. The man from MAF was bemused by my squid ink and quizzed me about why I wanted it. Eventually he conceded that he'd heard of Greek cooking using it too & let me through. He wasn't worried about the jam at all. A taxi home, phoned Mum, and I decided I was too knackered to do anything except get fish & chips and hit the sack. Still it was nice to be home.

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