Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Science in the front yard

There was a tragic death here in Perth yesterday - not far from my place of work.

A WORKER involved in an explosion at a Welshpool factory this morning has lost his fight for life after suffering severe head injuries in the bizarre incident.

The explosion occurred at Diamond Powder Coaters in Division Street just before 8am this morning when the 28-year-old Sri Lankan tried to get the lid off a drum with an angle grinder.

It is believed that sparks from the tool he was using ignited fumes from solvents in the 44-gallon drum.

The explosion sent the drum lid flying about 30m in the air, Belmont Sergeant Nathan Trenbearth said.

The man was rushed to Royal Perth Hospital but died from his injuries a short time late.

Police are preparing a report for the coroner while they assist Worksafe with investigations into the incident.

The man lived in Rivervale with friends and police were still trying to contact his family.

Source: http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/factory-explosion-in-welshpool/story-e6frg12c-1225962706551

(The article doesn't specifically refer to acetone, but it was mentioned as the chemical on a radio report.)

Anyway, as my family and a friend were sitting around the lounge last night, and I asked the adults if they heard about the accident. Miss 9's ears poked up and she asked what had happened. The conversation went like this:

Miss 9: "What happened?"

Me: "A worker tried to open a drum of acetone with an angle grinder."

Miss 9: "But an angle grinder makes sparks, the drum would have exploded."

Me: "Yes, unfortunately that's what happened."

Miss 7: "Is acetone flammable?" (Yes, she used the word flammable)

Hubby: "Yes, would you like to see how it burns?"

Both girls: "Yes!"

So we all trundle outside with a box of matches and a small amount of acetone to watch it burn.

I was surprised to see how slowly it burns.

I'm thinking that during the school holidays (starting very shortly) the girls will have to do some more experiments with chemicals and fire :) - Properly supervised, of course.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Let's spend $36b without a cost-benefit analysis ...

That is just what our lower house of parliament has decided today ....

OPPOSITION communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull's amendment to have the national broadband network subject to a cost-benefit analysis has failed in the lower house of parliament.

All four independent MPs and Australian Greens member Adam Bandt voted with the government to defeat the move to have the Productivity Commission scrutinise the $36 billion project.

The amendment was lost 57 votes to 60, with West Australian Nationals MP Tony Crook siding with the coalition.

Source: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/turnbull-nbn-amendment-fails-in-parliament/story-e6frfku0-1225962769450#ixzz16dhRlrvr

Crazy, crazy, crazy! Oh and I'm betting the final figure will be way higher than $36b.

Sad: Comedy legend Leslie Nielsen dead aged 84

From today's news I am saddened to read that Leslie Nielsen is dead.

CANADIAN actor Leslie Nielsen, famous for his deadpan turns in Airplane! and The Naked Gun, has died aged 84, a US radio station has reported.

His death was first reported in unconfirmed messages on Twitter that suggested the actor had died in the hospital after suffering from pneumonia.

His nephew, Doug Nielson, told radio station CJOB that the actor had been in the hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for 12 days and that "he just fell asleep and passed away" with family and friends by his side.

Born in Regina, Canada, Leslie Nielsen appeared in more than 100 movies and hundreds of television shows over the course of his career.

Awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he was also made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002 despite also being a naturalized US citizen.

He was married four times, and had two children from his second marriage, Maura and Thea Nielsen.

source: Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/comedy-legend-leslie-nielsen-dead-aged-84/story-e6frfku0-1225962705253#ixzz16dKInmp8

I did enjoy a number of his films.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

Wishing all my American friends a happy Thanksgiving Day.

We seem to spend a lot of time focusing on the things that aren't positive or could be better (well I know I do anyway). I think it's great to be reminded that there are lots of things in our lives to be thankful for and that we should focus on these as well.

I know that I'm very thankful for:

* My family
* Good friends - virtual and real
* My health
* My job
* The freedoms and standard of living that I enjoy living in a country like Australia
* The people who are willing to stand up and fight to protect these freedoms. Thank you for your service.

Enjoy your time with friends and the food! Be safe all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Splutter, splutter, cough, cough - say what?

Was reading an article on the backscatter scanners machines used in America and was stunned to read:

The body scanners, due to be rolled out across Australian airports next year, ....

Say what????

[Update]Found this article from November 9th

Full-body scanners will be introduced at international airports in Australia from early next year as part of the Federal Government's $200 million plan to boost aviation security.

Captain Woodward says there are no moves for a similar boycott here.

Instead he says AIPA will continue to work with the Government to address safety concerns.

"We're going to work closely with the security authorities from the Federal Government to see what sort of imaging equipment they want to put in and use," he said.

"We certainly have our preference for non-ionising radiation type of equipment. So we have had preliminary talks with the security authorities and we'll continue that."

A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says the technology to be introduced in Australia will be more advanced than the machines used in the US.

She says safety checks will be carried out on all equipment by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency.

From here.[/UPDATE]

[UPDATE 2]Apparently there were trials at Australian airports ...

In the six-week Australian trial, from October 15 to November 28, 2008, almost 70,000 travellers volunteered for full-body security scans at Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide airports, with Deakin University's Intelligent Systems Laboratory helping with data collection and modelling....

The results of the trial were:

The body scan trial

Melbourne Airport

Scanner: Rapiscan Secure 1000 (back-scatter x-ray)

?Used for secondary screening only

?32,011 passengers volunteered (22% of all passengers at the screening point)

? 1,078 passengers were imaged

?48% felt the process was as fast as the standard process

?58% felt it was no better or worse than the standard process

?34% felt it was better.

Sydney Airport

Scanner: AS&E SmartCheck (back-scatter x-ray)

?Used for secondary screening only

?28,422 passengers volunteered, (22% of all passengers at the screening point)

?3,227 passengers were imaged.

?48% felt the process was faster than the standard process.

?60% felt it was better than the standard process

?36% felt it was no better or worse.

Adelaide Airport

Scanner: L-3 ProVision (millimetre radio waves)

?Used for a primary screening

?8,536 passengers volunteered and were imaged

?61% felt the process was slower than the standard process.

?44% felt it was no better or worse than the standard process

?42% felt it was better.

SOURCE: Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Miss 9 cooked again tonight

The girls' principal and his wife came over for dinner tonight. Miss 9 cooked again (with a bit of help). The menu for was:

Main: Moroccan Beef Tagine served with Roast Baby Vegetables and Couscous
Dessert: Strawberries in Meringue Nests served with Chantilly Cream

Our tame chef was away for the weekend so Miss 9 was cooking with me. Luckily he helped her make the meringue nests before he went away:

Last night, Miss 9 chopped the strawberries and add some Castor sugar and put them in the fridge to macerate overnight.

She also cubed the beef nicely and we made up the spice rub and put that in the fridge too. We were using a Jamie Oliver recipe for this. We used Masterfood's Moroccan seasoning in place of the ras el hanout spice mix.

Today she finished off the Beef Tagine, made up a sample batch of the couscous to see how it worked and how long it took and then prepared the baby vegetables - carrots, corn, zucchini, brocollini and shallots for roasting.

She then chopped the strawberries for decorating the dessert and quickly made the Chantilly cream (which we had forgotten about :( ).

We roasted the vegies with some olive oil and mixed herbs for about 15mins at 220degC. She made the couscous (with some vegetable stock) and we served the meal!

Everything came together nicely and it was DELICIOUS! A very tasty and seriously impressive meal. The company was very pleasant as was the bottle of red they brought!

Here's some more photos (we forgot to take photos BEFORE we ate!):

And the dessert:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Well hubby's now on ....

the "waiting list" ...

so more waiting! BUT the operation should be performed within 3 months. So hopefully not too much more waiting.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers. This was probably the best outcome we could have got today (realistically).

Tragic, just tragic

Appears from the latest reports that the double shooting in Colorado of the Australian twins was a suicide pact.

Twin tells police shooting was suicide pact

THE Australian woman who survived a mysterious double shooting at a Colorado firing range won't tell US police why she and her twin sister made a suicide pact.

The Victorian women, Candace and Kristin Hermeler, shot themselves at the Family Shooting Centre south of Denver three days ago after renting pistols and buying ammunition from the firing range management. One died at the scene.

More details have emerged today about the 29-year-old sisters from an American cousin, who said they each had double university degrees and their parents had emigrated from South Africa to Melbourne in the 1970s, The Australian reported.

The surviving twin, who is in a serious condition in hospital after brain surgery, told police from her bed during a two-hour interview that the identical twins had made a suicide pact.

“She told us they planned to commit suicide together and did in fact shoot themselves,” Arapahoe County sheriff's Captain Louie Perea said.

But the investigators left the hospital not knowing why the twins, visiting the US from Victoria, would hatch such a plan.

“We asked that question, obviously more than once, and she didn't want to answer that question,” Captain Perea said.

“We do not know why they did it.

“But, we do know they were in the Denver area for five weeks and one of them went to the shooting range approximately two weeks ago and took some shooting lessons and then about a week ago they went to the same shooting range and took some more lessons.

“Obviously they went back to the shooting range on November 15 and shot themselves.”

The names of the twins will not be released until sheriffs match their identities with fingerprints taken by US immigration officers when the women first entered the US.


More here

[update] more here too [/update]

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Impressed with Miss 7

When I packed Miss 7's lunch yesterday I included a 'mini' home-made LCM bar* (they're the size of mini muffins). She saw me pack it and asked for another one for the friend she eats lunch with. Apparently she's been sharing the last few I've given her. (My eldest shares one out amongst three or four friends?!?).

So anyway I packed two and sent them off to school.

I was cleaning out their lunch boxes after school and was surprised to find one of the mini LCMs still in Miss 7's lunch box.

When I asked her why she hadn't eaten it, she replied that she did eat one, but her friend wasn't at school so she hadn't given the other one away!

I thought that was pretty impressive and shows good self-discipline!

* Used recipe 1 from this post http://jigsawsthoughts.blogspot.com/2010/10/alternatives-to-lcm-bars.html - and made them in mini papper cupcake cases inside a mini muffin tin.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thoughts and prayers for Friday please

Hubby has an appointment with the surgeon again.

We're hoping:
1) the appointment isn't cancelled
2) the surgeon is actually there this time and we're not waiting for 2 hours to be told that he's not available
3) that everything is alright with hubby's hip
4) and this is the big one - THAT WE GET A DATE FOR HIS SURGERY in the VERY VERY VERY near future.

Will let you know how it goes.


Monday, November 15, 2010

What is the purpose of recess and lunch times at school?

Seems like an odd question doesn't it? I must admit it's not one that I've given much thought to, until recently.

On Friday morning before school, Miss 9 came up to me and said that her teacher had assigned classmates for them to play at recess and lunch time and she had been given two boys to play with whom she didn’t really get on with and she really was upset that she couldn't play with her friends – unless her 'buddies' (and their 'buddies') played too. Apparently they also had to eat lunch with these kids and not with their normal groups.

I was stunned! And tried to discover what the 'real' story was.

From her I gathered that one girl (who is a known trouble-maker) had made another girl cry over something and there was a boy who was also 'being mean' to other kids and the teacher wanted them to play with different people to stop this behaviour.

Needless to say I decided to talk to the teacher.

I stopped by the Principal's office for another reason and mentioned it to him. He said it sounded strange but to take it up with the teacher first and if I didn't get an answer I was happy with to go back to him.

I spoke to the teacher. She basically said that "they were having social integration issues in the classroom and this approach had worked successfully in the year 1 class so I want to try it". I put forward my point of view that I considered recess and lunch time a "time out" for my daughter where she could unwind from the stress of the class and relax and play with her friends and making her play with kids she wouldn't normally play with would stress her. I also pointed out that there was a big difference between the social development of year 1 and year 3 children.

The teacher did concede "that the pairing (my daughter) had ended up with wasn't ideal" but that my daughter had "strong social skills which she hoped would help the other children". I pointed out that I didn't think this was likely and that all I could see it doing was stressing my daughter.

In the end, we decided to give it a go for the day and see how things went. I was reluctant to do this but didn't feel that I was getting anywhere with the teacher and my daughter, when the teacher asked her if she was willing to try it, said "yes". I mentioned the situation to the Principal and said I would give him feedback the following week.

After school I asked Miss 9 how it went. She said it was "okay" but that apparently one of the boys had slammed the other boy's fingers in the toilet door and that put an end to the "playing together" (this happened at the end of the lunch time anyway).

However, Miss 9 had a VERY DISTURBED night on the Friday night. She was crying in her sleep, calling out and was generally not settled. We've not seen this sort of behaviour from her in a long time and it is definitely a sign of stress with her. So I decided to talk to the teacher again this morning to ensure that they weren't going to do it again.

I explained to the teacher how she was on Friday night and the teacher basically said that she had kept a good eye on my daughter during Friday and that she seemed okay and happy. I pointed out that while she might be able to keep up a positive front at school, I believe the experiment did stress her and I wasn't happy for it to continue.

We had a long talk at by the end of it I really believe that that teacher was hearing what I was saying. As far as I know the teacher would like to repeat the experiment next Friday, but only for recess and a group session after lunch. I am fine with that, as long as my daughter gets some time to unwind during the day.

I mentioned to the Principal briefly in the morning that my daughter had a very unsettled night on Friday night and that I was going to talk to the teacher again. However I didn't seem him after the chat with the teacher.

I was therefore surprised, but pleased, to get a phone call from him at work following up. I explained how things had worked out and that I was happy with the outcome but mentioned that I was still concerned that they were doing this for the Year 1s (the class my other daughter was in – but not as concerned as she has a very different personality and is at a different stage in personal development), but that I thought the question of what is the purpose of the recess and lunch breaks needed to be addressed with the teachers generally.

So what do you think? Should the teachers be organising who the children play with and what they do during their recess and lunch breaks or should it be totally up to the children (within normal bounds, of course)?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Junior Masterchef Cook-a-long

My girls have enjoyed watching Junior Masterchef this year and decided they would like to join in the "cook-a-long" on Friday night.

We downloaded the instructions, equipment list and cooking method prior to the show and spent most of Friday afternoon preparing. Basically everything had to be chopped and/or weighed before the show started - even down to the butter being melted.

So with everything organised (and I even learnt how to roast and deskin hazelnuts) we waited for the show to start. In the introduction of the show we learnt that it was a 90min show (as opposed to the normal 60min), they were cooking three dishes and the last one was the cook-a-long one. Which means that we had an hour to wait until we needed that melted butter - needless to say the butter was no longer melted by that stage.

Girls waiting for the cook-a-long to start

All the pre-prepared ingredients

Anyway, eventually the show got to the cook-a-long part and the girls joined in making Individual Hazelnut and Chocolate Self-Saucing Puddings with Candied
Orange Zest and Creme Chantilly
. It was fun but challenging - timewise (especially as our oven & stove top weren't in the same room); and being so late.

However, with a little bit of help (nice to have a tame chef) the girls plated up some lovely dishes.

Girls making quinellas of Creme Chantilly

This is the picture from the Junior Masterchef site as I didn't manage to get one of the completed plates from the girls:

[Update] Found a picture of the girls' plates:



Individual Hazelnut and Chocolate Self-Saucing Puddings with Candied Orange Zest and Creme Chantilly


Hazelnut Chocolate Pudding
Melted butter, for greasing
1 cup self-raising flour
1/3 cup oven roasted hazelnuts, peeled and roughly chopped
1.5 tablespoons cocoa powder
.25 cup firmly packed brown sugar
60g dark chocolate 70%, roughly chopped
140ml full cream milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
50g unsalted butter, melted, cooled
Icing sugar, to serve

Chocolate Sauce
.5 cup firmly packed brown sugar
.25 cup cocoa powder, sifted
200ml warm water

Candied Orange Zest
Zest of 1 large orange, long thin strips
.25 cup caster sugar
50ml orange juice, strained

Cream Chantilly
400ml thickened cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence


1. Preheat oven to 190degC. Brush six 200ml cup-capacity round ramekins with melted butter and place onto an oven tray.

2. Combine flour, hazelnuts, cocoa powder, brown sugar and chocolate in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Make a well in the centre and slowly pour the milk and egg in, whisking until combined. Divide batter evenly between prepared ramekins.

3. For the sauce, combine brown sugar, cocoa and warm water in a jug and stir to
dissolve. Carefully pour chocolate sauce over prepared puddings to just under full.

4. Bake for 13-14 minutes. Remove from oven and stand for 2 minutes. Dust with
icing sugar.

5. For the orange syrup, combine orange zest, sugar and juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes to a syrup consistency.

6. For the cream Cantilly, place all ingredients in a jug with a whisk attachment
of a stick blender and whip until soft peaks form.

7. Serve puddings with a drizzle of orange sauce and a dollop of Chantilly cream.

We had 250ml sized ramakins and found that the mixture only did 4 of those. I also halved the amount of cream used, as 400ml is a LOT.

Kids and motivation

Was at Little Athletics the other week and overheard the following conversation:

Kid (about 10 to his mother): "Mum, I got a PB (personal best)."

Mother: "Great."

Kid: "Where's my 10 bucks?"

I spoke to the mum afterwards and apparently she gives her kids $10 every time they get a personal best at Little Athletics. She reckoned that they were reluctant to do some of the events so this is how she got them to participate.

I've since discovered that this is not uncommon.

I am stunned! It is not something that would have occurred to me. Some of the events don't interest my girls, but I just tell them they have to do them until Christmas. After that, if they still don't want to do them, then they can skip those ones.

I'm not sure that even paying them to participate or as a reward when they get a PB would make any difference to them. I'm not sure how motivated they would be by this. I'm not willing to do it though!

What do the rest of you think? Would you pay your kids to get them to participate in things / motivate them to do better?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month ....

we remember!

The eleventh hour of November 11 marks the ceasefire ending World War I, a war in which more than 60,000 Australian men were killed.

We remember at this time not only those Australians who were killed in WWI but those killed serving in any conflict around the world.

Here's a map of where Australians have served:

Source: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/features/interactives/remembrance-day
The map is actually interactive. If you go to this site you can see the actual countries / areas involved in each conflict.

Thank you to everyone who is or has served in any of the armed forces around the world!

[UPDATE]Other articles and blogs on the topic which are worth reading:
- Daddy Bear's Den - http://daddybearden.blogspot.com/2010/11/on-veterans.html
... [/UPDATE]

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And the police were minutes away?

From today's news (http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/national/women-hide-in-garage-during-house-raid/story-e6frfku9-1225951176182#ixzz14r6fUkPu) we have this article:

Women hide in garage during house raid

A PERTH woman and her daughter locked themselves in their garage as masked burglars smashed their way through the front door of their home with wooden poles, police say.

At about 4.30am WST (7:30am AEDT) today, the 56-year-old woman woke up after hearing a noise to witness a man whose face was covered with a black bandana emerging from her walk-in wardrobe.

He then ran past the woman and jumped out the window of the home in Coogee, south of Perth.

As the woman was calling police, several other people began smashing their way through the front door.

Her daughter woke up and joined her mother in trying to stop the offenders getting through the door but they were soon struck with wooden poles, police said.

The mother and daughter rushed to their garage and locked themselves inside as the offenders began smashing the windows of cars parked in the driveway.

The offenders left in a Ford Falcon sedan they had stolen on Tuesday night from a home in South Lake, south of Perth, and which was seen leaving an attempted burglary at a chemist some time later.

One of the offenders is described as being dark-skinned, 183cm tall, of slim build and wearing dark clothing.

Anyone who can assist in this investigation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


Luckily it seems that the home occupants were not seriously hurt - luckily.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wow, that many

Over at Maggie's Farm they listed government agencies in California.

As it seemed like an interesting thing to do, here are a list of Western Australian government agencies and departments.

I've tried to weed out any duplication but there's a few that I'm not sure about:

Albany Port Authority, Animal Resources Authority, Arena Joondalup, Armadale Redevelopment Authority, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, Broome Port Authority, Builders Registration Board of WA, Building and Construction Industry Training Fund, Building Disputes Tribunal, Bunbury Port Authority, Bunbury Water Board, Burswood Park Board, Busselton Water Board, C Y O, Central TAFE, Central West TAFE, Challenge Stadium, Challenger TAFE, ChemCentre, Childrens Court, Commissioner for Children and Young People, Commissioner for Occupational Safety and Health, Conservation Commission, Corruption and Crime Commission, Country Housing Authority, Curriculum Council, Curtin University of Technology, Dampier Port Authority, Department for Child Protection, Department for Communities, Department of Agriculture and Food, Department of Commerce, Department of Corrective Services, Department of Culture and the Arts, Department of Education , Department of Education Services, Department of Environment and Conservation, Department of Fisheries, Department of Health, Department of Housing , Department of Indigenous Affairs, Department of Local Government , Department of Mines and Petroleum, Department of Planning, Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor , Department of Regional Development and Lands, Department of Sport and Recreation, Department of State Development, Department of the Attorney General, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Department of the Registrar Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission, Department of Training and Workforce Development, Department of Transport, Department of Treasury and Finance, Department of Water, Director of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment, Disability Services Commission, District Court of WA, Drug and Alcohol Office, East Perth Redevelopment Authority, Economic Regulation Authority, Edith Cowan University, Electorate Offices, Electricity Generation Corporation, Electricity Networks Corporation, Electricity Retail Corporation, Equal Opportunity Commission, Esperance Port Authority, Family and Domestic Violence Unit, Family Court of Western Australia, Fire and Emergency Services Authority, Forest Products Commission, Fremantle Port Authority, Gascoyne Development Commission, Gold Corporation, Goldfields Esperance Development Commission, Government Employees Superannuation Board, Great Southern Development Commission, Great Southern TAFE, Hairdressers Registration Board of WA, Health Promotion Foundation WA, Heritage Council of Western Australia, Horizon Power, Housing Authority, Independent Market Operator, Insurance Commission of Western Australia, Kimberley Development Commission, Kimberley TAFE, Law Compass, Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, Legal Aid Western Australia, Legal Practice Board, Legislative Assembly, Legislative Council, Liquor Commission of WA, Lotteries Commission, Main Roads Western Australia, Mental Health Commission, Metropolitan Cemeteries Board, Mid West Development Commission, Midland Redevelopment Authority, Midvale SpeedDome, Minerals and Energy Research Institute of WA, Murdoch University, Nurses and Midwives Board of Western Australia, Office for Children & Youth, Office for Women's Policy, Office of Aboriginal Health, Office of Crime Prevention, Office of Development Approvals Coordination, Office of E-Government, Office of Energy, Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, Office of Government Procurement, Office of Health Review, Office of Multicultural Interests, Office of Native Title, Office of Population Health Genomics, Office of Road Safety, Office of Safety and Quality in Health Care, Office of Shared Services, Office of State Revenue, Office of State Security and Emergency Coordination, Office of the Appeals Convenor, Office of the Auditor General, Office of the Chief Nursing Officer, Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, Office of the Custodial Inspector, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Office of the Information Commissioner, Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services, Office of the Ombudsman, Office of the Public Advocate, Office of the Public Sector Standards Commissioner, Office of the State Coroner, Office of Training Accreditation Council, Painters Registration Board, Parliament of Western Australia, Parliamentary Commissioner for Administrative Investigations, Parliamentary Inspector of the Corruption and Crime Commission, Parliamentary Services Department, Peel Development Commission, Perth Market Authority, Perth Motorplex, Perth Observatory, Perth Theatre Trust, Pharmaceutical Council of Western Australia, Pilbara Development Commission, Pilbara TAFE, Port Hedland Port Authority, Potato Marketing Corporation of WA, Public Sector Commission, Public Transport Authority, Public Trust Office, Racing and Wagering Western Australia, Regional Power Corporation, River Guardians, Rockingham Development Office, Rottnest Island Authority, Rural Business Development Corporation, Salaries and Allowances Tribunal, ScreenWest, Seniors Card Centre, Seniors Contact, Small Business Development Corporation, Small Business Solutions, Solicitor General, South West Development Commission, South West Regional TAFE, State Administrative Tribunal, State Law Publisher, State Library of Western Australia, State Records Office of Western Australia, Subiaco Redevelopment Authority, Supreme Court, Sustainable Energy Development Office, Swan River Trust, Swan TAFE, Synergy Energy, The National Trust of Australia (WA), The University of Western Australia, Transperth, TransWA, Valuer General, VenuesWest, Verve Energy, Veterinary Surgeons Board, Waste Authority, Water Corporation, West Coast TAFE, Western Australia Gas Disputes Arbitrator , Western Australia Police Service, Western Australian Alcohol and Drug Authority, Western Australian Building Management Authority, Western Australian College of Teaching, Western Australian Electoral Commission, Western Australian Greyhound Racing Association, Western Australian Institute of Sport, Western Australian Land Authority (LandCorp), Western Australian Land Information Authority (Landgate), Western Australian Museum, Western Australian Planning Commission, Western Australian Tourism Commission, Western Australian Treasury Corporation, Western Power, Wheatbelt Development Commission, WorkCover Western Australia Authority, Zoological Parks Authority

That's 209 by my count.

What is the story in your state?

Miss 9 Received an Honour Certificate last Friday

For "an excellent exposition on video games". I was surprised, mainly because I didn't think she had ever encountered a video game in her life.

She brought a copy of the article she wrote home last night. The brief was to choose a side - for or against - children playing video games and to write a persuasive article backing up your choice.

Here's the start of the article in her handwriting:

The rest of the article is as follows (including spelling/grammar errors):


Some people say "they help you be fit. they teach you collers, letters and numbers." Some of that is true but it dose not teach you reading because it usely reads things for you so when you are 20 you need to be able to read and wright not just make Mario jump and fight, but some people think the oposite. They make you have more amagenation. But if you have your own amagenation you would read a book, wright a story or mabe even play with dolls. If you have a videogame you will spend all of your money on games but some people say "My child is larning so I will buy them more" but that in real life is more and more and more and mabe more.

They might swear or get realy agresive with you if you dont get them more games or mabe even a phone or a Wii.

With all of my reasons it leads to no I do not want people to play vido games. People all over the world would be alot more healthy.


I'm was very pleased with her effort and approach!

Update on Stop and Search Laws

I last blogged about this on October 21st (http://jigsawsthoughts.blogspot.com/2010/10/its-start.html). Now we have the following report:

Police Minister Rob Johnson says stop and search laws on track

POLICE Minister Rob Johnson says controversial stop and search laws are still on track, despite accepting recommendations for change to the Bill.
Mr Johnson said following a thorough review of the committee’s report, 36 recommendations had been accepted either in full or with some modification.

Just weeks ago the proposed stop and search laws were dealt a severe blow when the parliamentary committee investigating the law said it should be "abandoned immediately.''

Three of the five committee members - Greens MP Alison Xamon, Nationals MP Mia Davies and Labor MP Sally Talbot - recommended the proposed legislation "should not proceed in any form".

Ms Xamon said the proposal was "deeply flawed" and "the sheer level of imposition on the civil rights of innocent citizens could simply not be justified".

But the committee has also recommended a series of proposed amendments.

Ms Xamon said: “Clearly this is legislation which never should have gotten this far".

"There has been an appalling lack of attention to appropriate safeguards, no costings or provision for additional resources, and no clear evidence as to its effectiveness in preventing crime," she said.

Law Society opposes 'Stop and Search'

Law Society of WA president Hylton Quail said the recent misuse of Tasers by police raised serious concerns about police abuse of the proposed stop and search laws.

"Incidents involving the inappropriate, reckless and possibly unlawful use of Tasers by police officers show that WA Police should not be given additional powers which will also be open to abuse.

"No matter what checks and balances are put in place, the fact is that these powers are excessive and a gross infringement of the civil liberties of all of us,'' Mr Quail said in a statement.

Mr Barnett has previously conceded the new laws will compromise civil liberties to a limited extent at certain times in certain places.

Bill can achieve its outcome - Johnson

Today, Mr Johnson said the committee's recommendations would still allow the Bill to achieve its intended outcome.

“Where I felt it was appropriate, I have accepted the recommendation or a slight variation of the recommendation,” he said.

“Issues such as size of prescribed or declared area; supervision of operations; time period of prescribed or declared operation; notification of declaration; and reviewing and reporting of operations are all recommendations that can be accommodated and for the most part were the intended method of operation.”

Mr Johnson said although he and the Police Commissioner had repeatedly explained the intention of the Bill and how police would enforce the legislation, continued campaigns of misinformation had created a situation where some people were unsure of what the Bill was actually trying to achieve and how the law would be applied.

“With this in mind, I believe that several of the committee’s recommendations, while not actually altering the intent of the Bill, are particularly useful as they will give a greater degree of clarity to it,” he said.

The Minister said he had not accepted some recommendations as they did not keep the intent of the Bill and would have rendered it almost useless.

These included the request to exempt children under 18 and to have special considerations for children and young people, mentally disabled people, and people with cultural dress. All these issues were already addressed in normal police training and operational procedures.

Mr Johnson said it remained the Government’s intention to pass the legislation through State Parliament by the end of the year.


Let's hope it's defeated in parliament then!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Garden

Well did some more gardening on the weekend. Put a few more vegies in and planted some natives in the front garden.

Here's some pictures.

They're only small now, but the girls wanted me to take photos and put them on my blog so that we can see how they grow over the next couple of months.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Best tips ever


1. Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.

2. Use a meat baster to "squeeze" your pancake batter onto the hot griddle and you'll get perfectly shaped pancakes every time.

3. To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.

4. To prevent egg shells from cracking, add a pinch of salt to the water before hard-boiling.

5. To determine whether an egg is fresh, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it is fresh, but if it rises to the surface, throw it away.

6. When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corn's natural sweetness.

7. Run your hands under cold water before pressing Rice Krispies treats in the pan and the marshmallow won't stick to your fingers.

8. To get the most juice out of fresh lemons, bring them to room temperature and roll them under your palm against the kitchen counter before squeezing.

9. To easily remove burnt on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to a boil on a stove-top.

10. Spray your Tupperware with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in tomato-based sauces and there won't be any stains.

11. When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won't be any white mess on the outside of the cake.

12. If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it's still cooking, drop in a peeled potato and it will absorb the excess salt for an instant "fix me up."

13. Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks.

14. Brush some beaten egg white over pie crust before baking to yield a beautiful glossy finish.

15. Place a slice of apple in hardened brown sugar to soften it.

16. Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.

17. If you have a problem opening jars: Try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.

18. Potatoes will take food stains off your fingers. Just slice and rub raw potato on the stains and rinse with water.

19. To get rid of itch from mosquito bites, try applying soap on the area and you will experience instant relief.

20. Ants, ants, ants everywhere ... Well, they are said to never cross a chalk line. So get your chalk out and draw a line on the floor or wherever ants tend to march. See for yourself.

21. Use air-freshener to clean mirrors. It does a good job and better still, leaves a lovely smell to the shine.

22. When you get a splinter, reach for the scotch tape before resorting to tweezers or a needle. Simply put the scotch tape over the splinter, then pull it off. Scotch tape removes most splinters painlessly and easily.

23. Don't throw out all that leftover wine: Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

24. Now look what you can do with Alka Seltzer!
* Clean a toilet. Drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets, wait twenty minutes, brush, and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous china.
* Clean a vase. To remove a stain from the bottom of a glass vase or cruet, fill with water and drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets
* Polish jewelry. Drop two Alka-Seltzer tablets into a glass of water and immerse the jewelry for two minutes.
* Clean a thermos bottle. Fill the bottle with water, drop in four Alka-Seltzer tablets, and let soak for an hour (or longer, if necessary).
* Unclog a drain. Clear the sink drain by dropping three Alka-Seltzer tablets down the drain followed by a cup of Heinz White Vinegar Wait a few minutes, then run the hot water.


Found here.

I've heard and used some of these before, but the one about putting an apple in with potatoes is one I'm going to give a go.

Miss 9 cooked again last night

Miss 9 had arranged with her chef friend to help her cook again yesterday. We invited some friends around so she had 5 adults and 4 children to cook for.

She didn't get a chance to write a menu but the meal consisted of:

Chicken and Pesto in Filo Pastry served with a Garden Salad and Tomato Concasse.
- yes she made the pesto from scratch
Rum Balls

She made an adult and a kid's version of both the Trifle and Rum balls.

Here are the pictures:

Chicken Pesto in Filo Pastry


Rum Balls

Oh and here's a photo of the chef and apprentice at work ...

It was a lovely evening. The children played nicely, the adults nattered for hours and the food was delicious - as was the wine!

Looking forward to the next time.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday night dinner ...

On Friday nights it is traditional for the girls to have fish & chips. Even though these are "home cooked" I'm not a huge fan.

So tonight, I decided to cook a pizza for the adults (3) for dinner.

I was only going to make one, but in the end decided that having some over for lunch tomorrow would be a good idea, so I made two:

The one one left is made with lebanses bread as a base; a bit of spray olive oil; tomato paste, hot pepperoni, parmasan cheese, black pepper, mixed herbs and black olive tapenade.

The one on the right is the same, excluding the tapenade.

Even though the girls had already eaten a piece of fish and some chips they wanted to try the pizzas. I was surprised that Miss 7 actually ate a piece as she doesn't like spicy things.

These two pizzas disappeared in no time at all. So we decided to make two more ...

These are lebanese bread, spray olive oil, tomato paste, mixed herbs, cooked chicken breast (I always have some in the freezer), pineapple and oregano.

Surprisingly these two disappeared as well!

Nice quick and easy and yummy dinner!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In the lounge

This discussion just took place:

Me: "Miss 7, have you done xyz?"

... no answer ...

Me: "Miss 7, could I have an answer please?"

Miss 7: "I nodded my head."

Me: "In the future could you answer me with words."

Miss 9: "Didn't you hear her head rattle?"

This is why I lock my car when loading shopping ...

From today's news:

Police hunt brazen handbag thief

POLICE are looking for a brazen handbag thief who has been targeting women across Sydney.

The man robbed 15 women in inner west and eastern suburbs over eight days in October in almost identical thefts.

In each case a handbag was taken from the front passenger seat of vehicles in car parks as the women were loading their shopping into the boot or back seat.

The NSW Police metropolitan robbery unit said on Friday that it was seeking a Caucasian man and a stolen 2006 silver Mazda 3 hatchback, with the licence plate AYO 39F, that has been linked to the thefts.

The thefts occurred between October 15 and 23 in Ultimo, Pyrmont, Strathfield, Burwood, Five Dock, Homebush West, Moore Park, Pagewood and Randwick.

Source: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/police-hunt-brazen-handbag-thief/story-e6frfku0-1225948000095#ixzz14IljkTg ... emphasis added.

If I put my handbag on the front passenger seat when I'm loading the boot I lock my door to avoid something like this happening. If you don't currently do this then let this be a warning!

Hope they find and charge him.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Summer ....

Today felt like it! Actually the last three days have been warm but it hit 36.9degC today. Too hot for this time of the year and my vegy garden didn't like it in the least.

The next couple of days, hopefully, will be a bit cooler.

I'm not ready for summer yet.

OH and I was going to go up the range today after work - but it was way too hot :( The last two weeks it has rained on the Wednesdays and today is HOT - finger's crossed for better weather next week.