Of Loss and Learning

Hi All,

If it hadn’t been for Saturday, today’s post would have amounted to about a sentence and the word “Rotoscoping”. Our latest assessment has us glued to the computer for hours at a time hand drawing over the top of individual video cells. 200 cells to be precise in order to yield 10 seconds (precisely!) of swf file that will give you a tiny window into insanity. Steve has been helping a friend renovate his mother’s house and that means that non-technological narf7 has been left in charge of the technology. A dark day indeed! On the positive side, I have learned a great deal from my solo career, the most important lesson being that of “never EVER let Steve go!” He might leave his clothes scattered all over the bedroom floor…he might drop bits of log on the pathway between the wheelbarrow and the wood basket…he might “half do” just about EVERYTHING but he is a genius when it comes to technology and I, most certainly, am NOT. I spent an entire day twiddling my thumbs because I attempted to open up a video in Adobe Media Encoder and managed somehow to click a button that changed the look of the program so I could no longer follow the video instructions given to us by our lecturer. Helplessness to the max and no amount of temper tantrums would open that little black secret box! I had to wait till Steve got in, tired and filthy from peeling wallpaper, to find that all I had to do was click a single button and that the video that was tantalisingly close to me was just “there” again.

Here’s a Youtube link to hear just how HIDEOUS my voice is. If this goes viral I am going to need therapy! I hand drew all of the artwork in this video. The art is the star, the voice is something to be endured 😦

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_ZzTvgHijE&feature=share

Adobe Flash is fun folks. I love it. There are so many possibilities to be creative but we have hit a section of Flash where fun ceases and hard graft takes over. It’s called Rotoscoping and it has just consumed the last 3 days of our lives. Rotoscoping is where some poor schmuck (that would be we humble middle aged penniless student hippies) has to sit for hours on end individually hand drawing over the top of video still cells. To add to the tension, because Steve has been AWOL he had to work all weekend on his Rotoscoping assessment. We had to first take a short video (maximum 10 seconds) with audio and convert it into a format whereby we could insert it into Adobe Flash. After that we have to render it rotoscoped, then reinsert the audio file and erase the original video cells so that what we are left with is our hand drawn animation with sound. We also have to add a background but that is incidental to the hard work. The notes said that it was a 12 hour task. The notes lied. Steve spent the best part of 36 hours straight Rotoscoping his video and because we only have 1 computer with Adobe on it, I had to wait my turn. I sent a missive off to our lecturer informing him that my rotoscoped video is going to have to wait and why. Here’s hoping he understands and it’s kind of too bad if he doesn’t really 😉

DSCF3248

Steve took this shot with my trusty camera right before it ran out of batteries. It didn’t help that he accidentally shot a video before this but this is just to show you how cold it was out where he was collecting wood this morning. The limbs in the foreground were actually frozen!

DSCF3247

This is on the same property after it warmed up a bit. The grass is frosty and the weather is frigid but when the sun shines you just can’t feel sorry for yourself in Winter 🙂

I would like to make it officially known that I am OVER VIRUSES! Our free AVG appears to have given up the ghost and no longer upgrades. I guess you get what you pay for and they are starting to give you less and less in order to try to force you to buy their service. Steve clicked on a camera information site the other day and got 3 Trojans that took half a day to get rid of. I was eating my breakfast and decided to check out the news for the day and I got 2 Trojans from a decision to read about the new royal baby. AVG has officially worn out Its welcome in our home and I hereby give notice to the hackers, the spammers, the complete and utter gits who feel the need to invade other people’s personal information and generally make the internet a pain in the derrière to navigate that we are trotting off tomorrow to get Kaspersky to lay some smack down on their bottoms! “Bring it on you nasty little reprobates…we will be ready for you!” Just a quick note, we now HAVE Kaspersky locked and loaded onto our trusty PC steed and I have to say, it actually makes our PC run faster! “Bring it on invaders…we have brought in the big guns!”

DSCF3090

A shameless photo of Earl indulging in the demon liquor! I am sorry to say he LOVES IT…

DSCF3249

He might be hung over but he is MOST interested in this interesting package that I received this morning…I am not going to open it till my birthday. Thankyou from the bottom of my little black ducky heart Christi and Keith. If it is what I think it is, I am going to treasure every single spoonful down to the last. I will run my finger around the jar when it has been completely spent of its hallowed contents and I will treasure the jar along with it’s fellow countrymen. I could almost amass a tiny army of them and I love each and every one :). Hugs and love from your twin in Sidmouth and I can’t wait till my birthday breakfast…guess what I am going to have on toast? 🙂

On a sadder note, Pingu is no longer with us :o(. Pingu was Steve’s little hen that he rescued from certain death when he found her almost lifeless as an abandoned chick in the outside chook compound. He used a hairdryer to warm her and then raised her in his music room. She was never entirely normal after that and Earl tried to dispatch her 3 times. She was always living on borrowed time and spent her days scurrying out of the way of the other hens and wandering around near the back gate trying to work out how to get back inside where the warm light was and the free grain. She met a most sad and ironic death at the hands of someone who has been dead for 3 years and therein lies a tale…

DSCF3225

Steve doing his level best to look like Sid Vicious whilst tempting Earl with his favourite fruit “eggs”. Note the view that I have out my window. It’s not hard to get Steve to do the dishes 😉

DSCF3226

Earl will do tricks for eggs. Bezial is sitting nicely in the hope that good behaviour is going to get HIM an egg and Steve is attempting to be a teapot apparently…”Love that hair babe! Who needs hair gel when you can have wallpaper paste instead? ;)”

3 years ago my father died. My father was a conundrum of a man. He was bolshie to the core and proud of it. He was erasable, he was ornery, he was just about every kind of irritating and frustrating at times but his worst quality was his abrogation of responsibility. Dad knew he had cancer when he purchased a young vital Curly haired retriever that he named Milo. He knew that he wasn’t going to last till Milo passed away and just assumed that Steve and I would take Milo on when he died. He told us that we were going to inherit Milo and as the child of a bolshie man, I felt the need to put my foot down and make it known that if we wanted a dog, it was going to be OUR choice of dog and not dad’s! Bezial was purchased, in part, to stem the tide of “Milo”. Dad, being dad, spent his days alternating between indulging Milo and yelling at him. Milo, being the bone headed mutt that he was had NO idea what was expected of him and so ended up confused, neurotic and more than a little irritating. When dad died some “friends” who owed dad a lot of money came out of the woodwork and said that they would take Milo. We thought that it was because they thought it was a way to pay him back for the money that they owed him but we have since found out otherwise.

DSCF3196

Some of the ingredients chosen to make vegan Bibimbap a Korean dish that I LOVE.

DSCF3191

I home dried those large regular mushrooms from the stash that I got ages ago in our mushroom compost. The other mushrooms are cloud ear fungus. They add a delicious crunch and some nutrition to any dish that you add them to

Dad was in the habit of “promising” people things…dropping little hints about how wealthy he was and how he would “see you right” and this resulted in him picking up vultures like ticks. He had a “girlfriend” who evaporated like so much smoke after he died but who was armament (before he died) that he absolutely positively HAD to marry her because she adored the ground that he walked on… he also had some fair weather friends who stuck like glue to the honeypot and who were loath to give up their free source of money. Unfortunately for Milo, the people that took him were the worst of the bunch. We think they thought that dad was going to leave money in his will to take care of Milo. He was locked in an outside garage for 3 years and only let out on very rare occasions. Every time he was let out he would return here and Steve would put a leash on him and take him back. The woman who took him never seemed to have a problem with that until exactly 3 years to the day after dad died and Milo started making repeat appearances on the property within days of each other. Steve took him back and the woman screamed at Steve to “Get off my property!” and “He only goes to your place because you feed him!” and other such crazy talk. Steve was gobsmacked to say the least because every other time she just took Milo back. It would seem that they have suddenly realised that there isn’t any money in Milo. They have also apparently stopped feeding him. He is rake thin and starving. He has been up to our property 7 times in the last month and after Steve’s screaming match with the woman I have been taking him back. I got screamed at too but I told her that I didn’t want to fight with her, dropped Milo off and just walked away from her mid tirade.

DSCF3197

The reconstituted cloud ear fungus along with a plate with tofu, thin sliced veggies, reconstituted regular mushrooms and some bamboo shoots in chilli oil and some fermented tofu. Just a note folks…take it VERY easy if you ever decide to walk on the wild side and try fermented tofu. It’s a most definite “acquired taste”. I think it might be a cold day in hell before I eat it again!

DSCF3203

My daughters have sauces that they purchased from a local Asian supermarket for their bibimbap but I didn’t have any so decided to wing it. I did have gochujang, the Korean chilli sauce that adds delicious spicy piquancy to everything that you use it with and so added ginger, garlic etc. to make my own. Here’s a link to a good recipe for Bibimbap sauce if you would like to make your own…

http://www.food.com/recipe/kochujang-sauce-190227

The last time that I took him back she threatened to call the police on me if I came near her property. Hard to bring “her dog” back when I can’t go near her property and it became more and more obvious that she was attempting to get us to take over responsibility for Milo…to deal with a problem that she no longer wanted. Milo is a lovely dog. He is pure bred, he is handsome, he is now incredibly well behaved and he walks amazingly well on a leash. He would make some family a stunning pet. I walked home from my last altercation with “the fishwife” and called the police myself. The advised me not to take Milo back and to call the ranger. We associated “ranger” with pounds and dogs being put to sleep and we didn’t want to go down that road so we tried to take Milo back as close to her house as we could get without being seen and release him. It didn’t work. Why would he want to go back to being locked in a shed with no food? On Saturday at lunchtime we were working inside when Earl went ballistic. We know Earl’s “Milo alarm” sound and Steve sighed…

DSCF3229

This is a metre long home made sausage. It is also part of my kitchen but the sausage is the star. That tiny little “thing” next to the metre long sausage is Steve’s idea of a bit of fun. He filled the remaining sausage casing with water and kept leaving it around where I would find it…nothing like an adolescents sense of humour to keep the spark in your relationship 😉

DSCF3234

The sausage rolled up in the style of boerwors sausage…note Steve’s “rubber Johnny”…sigh…

We had also been advised over the telephone, by a lawyer to not take Milo back and to see if he would go back himself. We waited, hostage, inside with our dogs for 3 hours while Milo roamed around the property eating old dead wallaby bones out the back and sniffing all over the place. We felt frustrated and upset by the whole situation and suddenly Earl started to bark at the back door and Steve headed over to see what the commotion was all about. The last we saw of Pingu was Milo carrying her off in his mouth down a pathway on the property :o(. We raced outside but he was gone and by the pile of feathers outside she was dead. He had apparently taken another hen as well because there was another pile of feathers in another area so I looked at Steve and said “That’s IT!”. It takes a fair bit to get me really angry folks. I dabble in minor explosions but when my ire is truly up I make Vesuvius look tame. Steve knows better than to say anything and just grabbed his jacket and followed me out the door. We were most of the way up the road (on foot) when our friend’s partner drove up behind us and after we had explained what happened, decided to drive us up to deal with the fishwife. For a while she refused to come out of her house, then she saw our friend and decided that as we had witnesses she wouldn’t go down her usual screaming track and instead headed back inside her house and slammed the door…it was ON!

DSCF3239

Steve cutting the casing from the end of the boerwors style sausage that he is just about to cook for his tea

DSCF3240

After skewering the sausage to ensure it didn’t manage to get out of the oven it ended up being very tasty. We will be experimenting with making different kinds of sausages from now on. They are much cheaper and better quality than regular supermarket or butchers sausages and you can customise them however you like. This variety had Asian flavouring with chilli and mixed herbs and Steve gave them his (fussy) tick of approval 🙂

We headed back home where we detained Milo in our shed. We then called the police and were amazed when they sent someone around! He headed off to the fishwife’s home but strangely and most curiously, there wasn’t anyone in (although we had been there not 10 minutes before 😉 ). He then told us that we were within our rights to contain Milo and that he would phone up the on call ranger to come and get him. Steve and I looked at each other but by now it was too far gone for us to stop Milo being taken to the pound. We know that this is EXACTLY what the fishwife wants. She wants to not only be abrogated of responsibility for Milo, but to make it “our fault” that he gets put down. She didn’t factor in the ranger being an animal lover. We got a call from the ranger at 4pm. He told us that he would pick Milo up the next morning and that we could feed him and keep him in our shed. Steve headed out with a big bowl of dog biscuits that our dogs won’t eat (too fussy) and Milo scoffed them down in 10 seconds flat. It was very sad to see and we don’t blame the poor dog for killing our chooks…he was starving.

DSCF3208

My new kettle. The old one was threatening a melt down and this one has a very thick base and a whistle that is more melodic than manic. I LOVE IT 🙂

We talked to the ranger and filled him in on the situation and the next morning he turned up at 9am at the bottom of the drive to pick him up. Steve and I were waiting with Milo on a lead. He kept looking up at us and licking Steve’s hand. We felt awful. When the ranger arrived he told us that as Milo was micro chipped to dad (the fishwife was stupid enough to get his rego changed but too lazy to fill out forms to have the microchip changed into her name) that officially he didn’t have to contact the fishwife and could go to plan B. He said that after 5 days in the pound that Milo would be sent to the RSPCA for rehousing. That made Steve and I VERY happy. It’s what should have happened 3 years ago but for the greed and avarice of a false friend. To ensure that the fishwife didn’t reclaim Milo (which she is apparently entitled to do) he is going to wave a series of prospective fines at her for allowing her dog to roam unlicensed that should eventuate in her signing Milo over to the ranger rather than torturing the poor dog more than he has already had to endure. We refused our right to complain about Milo killing Pingu and another hen. If we had, he would have been put into a different category. As far as we are concerned, he did it because he was starving and who knows what we would do if put in the same situation?

DSCF1506

I just found this picture that I took of some gochujang, the paste that I use to make Bibimbap sauce. Just thought you might like to see it so that if you want to give this dish a go for yourself you can

DSCF1509

Another Korean paste made from miso and flavoured with garlic, spring onions and sesame seeds. It is really delicious and adds a lot of flavour to healthy Korean dishes

The ranger drove off with Milo and is going to keep us informed of the situation. It turns out that not only is the ranger a very nice, animal loving man, but he comes from Devon in the U.K., his father was from Liverpool (Steve’s home-town) and he lived in Western Australia (MY hometown) for many years. We had a lot in common and that certainly helped to grease the wheels for looking out for Milo’s welfare. I can’t believe that someone would be able to disregard the life of something in order to get money. I know it happens. It happens every day. My father inherited a lot of money from his partner when she died and he managed to fritter a most of it away on fair weather friends and a series of useless causes. It was his right to do whatever he wanted with his wealth but it did nothing towards making his life happy. His money ended up being a milestone around his neck because he didn’t realise that money is a means to an end, not something to be held in high esteem and used to affect power over other people. It always ends up turning around and biting you. It’s easy to say that from a penniless student hippy point of view. We don’t have money and so it is easy to negate its importance. When money buys you fishwife you would be better off without it folks! The huge irony is that despite Earl getting hold of Pingu 3 times and plucking her within an inch of her life, she always managed to get away. It took dad’s dog from the past to take her out. She was officially unscared of dogs thanks to Bezial roaming free with me in the mornings and not bothering the chooks. She would peck at seed and he would sniff her. The last time I saw Pingu she was trotting along next to Milo at the side of Steve’s shed, oblivious to her fate. I hope it was quick :o(. I found some feathers on the pathway down to the front gate. I brought them back with me and put them into my feather stash that I have on the deck. Pingu finally made it posthumously back into the fold.

DSCF1614

A tray of homemade potato wedges…potatoes go hand in hand with winter…note the “sampled” spud over to the left 😉

DSCF1761

Bezial pretending to be fast asleep so I will leave him alone. Winter is a great time for dogs to laze around on rocker recliner chairs next to the fire…it’s a dogs life here folks!

That’s about all I have to share with you today folks. As I mentioned, aside from Saturday, it was a manic week spent scratching out cells on videos and scratching my head trying to work with technology that is more bolshie than I am. Have a great week and see you next week where I might share the 10 second video that Steve took 3 solid days to make.