Saturday, April 28, 2007

Destroy Kitchen

Destroy the kitchen

Destroy the kitchen
Work has started on the kitchen!! For those of you who have not been to the house its worth describing the kitchen to you.
The kitchen is made up of many ‘pre loved’ bits that have been glued, screwed, nailed and pushed together. It looks ok when it’s full of kitchen stuff but it is TOTALLY impractical. The thick wooded tops leak and are uneven so the chopping board rocks. The cooker takes your arm hair off each time you light it, I have to remember to use alternate arms so I don’t look a freak. The inside of the cupboards have expanding chipboard (if ever you have had a leak you will know what I mean). So on and so forth…
Well we have a new kitchen planned, deposit has been paid and new kitchen hardware ordered =) and the builders are going sooo fast that it’s being installed in 1 ½ weeks!!
So we needed to start preparing for the installation. First thing that had to go was the shelf and big wooden pillar. We had been worried that the pillar was holding up the ceiling (Bianca still has a quick glance up there every couple of hours) and have asked a couple of builder as well as the architect who designed the house whether it was load-bearing but got no positive ‘no, don’t be silly’ but lots of ‘shouldn’t be’, ‘wasn’t in my design’ etc. I took the plunge and figured if it was load-bearing it would be hard to remove as the weight of the roof would be on it =)
Here are a few pics from the adventure. Needless to say that we still have roof and now no pole and shelf =). It’s really opened up the main room and we (well me really, Bianca’s still worried) are really excited about the new kitchen on the 7th. The bench tops will follow a week or 2 later cos they need measuring in situ.

Friday, April 20, 2007

World Conference of Science Journalists

Caricature of me
Originally uploaded by Mistress B.
The big names! The events! The networking! The debates! I'm still on a total high after attending this week's four-day World Conference of Science Journalists in Melbourne. It might sound a bit yawn-worthy to some of you, but this has been one of the biggest highlights of my professional life so far. I got to listen to, meet and chat to such luminaries as the eds-in-chief of Scientific American and Nature - John Rennie and Philip Campbell - Luna Media ed-in-chief Wilson da Silva, the ABC's brilliant Robyn Williams and Dr Norman Swan, and numerous other greats of the science journo world.
And just as exhilarating was meeting other journos and freelancers like myself from all over the world. It's so great to hear about what other people are doing, to learn from their experiences and offer lessons from my own. I sure as hell learned heaps, and I hope I've helped convinced a few people to make the break into freelancing. It's a good life!
The presentations included the ins-and-outs of reporting on public health issues, bias in science journals, the challenges of climate change reporting, an update on quantum computing (which I think I understood about 30% of) ... just to name a few things.
I found my previous understanding of the concept of 'balance' was challenged and eventually transformed after hearing how damaging it has been for the media to keep giving air-time to the anti-climate change lobby. 'Balance' used to mean giving both the for and against views, but I've since realised that in the case of climate change, this perpetuates the impression that the scientific community is still in disagreement over whether climate change is real. In fact, there is enormous concensus amongst reputable scientists that climate change caused by human activity is real. The debate is now over what the results of this change will be.
Anyway, won't bore you with more stuff, but I had a brilliant time, and I'm all fired up to tackle new and exciting things, so watch this space!
p.s If you're wondering about the attached image, it's my caricature drawn by artist Gavin Bell at one of the events. I was making all sorts of silly faces, fired by with several glasses of champagne. He obliged by drawing them. At least the wind didn't change.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Cooking, Treetops style!

Cooking, Treetops style!
Originally uploaded by Mistress B.
It has finally got cold enough for us to justify lighting our little wood stove, and it's sooooo nice. The weather over this long weekend hasn't been the best, so instead of being out in the garden, we're spending more time indoors reading, cooking and faffing. Apart from the fact that the fire heats the house so deliciously, it's also handy to cook on. Feels very 'Little House On The Prairie' to cook on the fire. I like. All I need now is a gingham pinnie and a possie of rug rats... Phil wants twelve of them. I've told him conjugal rights cease after four. He's pondering this proposal.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Earth hour with Louise and Peter

For one hour on Saturday night, a good chunk of Sydney turned off the lights as part of a noble initiative called Earth Hour, led by WWF, the City of Sydney and Fairfax. Apparently electricity consumption for the city dropped by 10% - YAY!
We celebrated with a candlelit dinner with Louise and Peter at Treetops. I had grand plans that our stuffed zucchini would be cooked by 7.30 and we would be well seated by the time the lights had to go off, but best laid plans .... ended up finishing cooking using a head torch, but the spirit of the event was upheld, and we had a very pleasant candlelit evening. If only we could have Earth Hour every year/month/week/day?