This morning I was unable to pack my lunch as no one cooked a new batch of rice. So I left for work with the intention of buying some from the food court.
When my outlook was up and running it popped up a pleasant reminder that the Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea that Westfield was hosting is on today. Not only that, but the department lunch is served today as well. So I went from an empty lunch box to an eventual stuffed stomach.
Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is a charity event created by the cancer council. Donations are welcome.
Westfield certainly served up a feast today. Heavily skewed towards sweets, nonetheless I was able to get a good serving of both savory and dessert.
Those Pretzels at the bottom of the photo were to-die-for.
About a year ago I did a project for my dad’s birthday by digitizing all the family 35mm slides with one of those home slide scanners you can by for a relatively inexpensive price of around $60. It was great to see images that I haven’t seen in years, especially those before my time on earth, pop-up on the monitor after the scanner had finished its work.
The resulting cache of photographs allowed me to look at baby photos of myself and see any similarities/differences between Levi and I.
Please note i am not good at discerning the age in photographs, unless there is some specific time-anchor as you’ll see in one of the photos.
Here’s a photo of me and Levi. I think there are similarities.
Levi is currently about 11 days shy of 4 months. His appearance changes constantly. Every few days when I get home from work and see the little guy I am amazed at how he has morphed once again slightly into an older version of what he use to be. Still amazes me when I look at photos from just a couple of months back and see the difference.
Here is a photo of Levi taken today. I call it the Superbaby shot. We flipped his bib so that its positioned on his back, giving him an appearance of a cape. Together with the all red onesie he has taken on the appearance of a superhero. Notice the brown hair and dark brown eyes. The colours could alter in the coming months, but I doubt he will look like me when I was turning one.
Here is a photo on my first birthday. Notice how light my hair is, almost blonde I would say. BTW that bottle makes it look like I am enjoying my first beer.
Here is another from front on. I couldn’t believe that I had such light hair.
I am looking forward to see how he matures for his first birthday.
The answer to the title is Saffron, a type of spice derived from a small purple flower, which is considered one of the most expensive spices in the world.
We were out shopping last night at Coles getting the weekly groceries. I managed to snap this picture on my camera phone of some pure saffron in the spices isle. Coles has a handy price comparison table that allows you to compare different brand products to one another. In this case you can see that 10 grams of saffron is equal to $1349.00, absolutely stunned me.
It was only later that I did a quick Google search to see how much Gold is sold for these days to see just how expensive saffron is gram for gram.
See below graph: The movement of gold at the time of writing this is $46 AUD per gram. That is equal to $460 dollars for 10 grams. This saffron is sold for $1349.00 per 10 grams.
Saffron is nearly TRIPLE the amount gram for gram compared to gold. Wow!!!
Starting tomorrow I am upturning my backyard and dumping a bag of saffron seeds. If work calls tell them I am now a saffron farmer.
But seriously reading the Wikipedia article, the plant seems not very demanding. It just doesn’t produce much saffron as this paragraph states:
Roughly 150 flowers together yield but 1 g of dry saffron threads; to produce 12 g of dried saffron (or 72 g moist and freshly harvested), 1 kg of flowers are needed. One freshly picked flower yields an average 30 mg of fresh saffron or 7 mg dried.
Here are some pictures of the saffron flowers:
What is Pandemic?
Pandemic is the newest game added to my collection of board games. Its unique playing mechanic makes the game like nothing I have played before. It is a cooperative game, in the sense that all the players (up to four players) are competing against the game itself. How you may ask? There is no CPU controlling the game or little gnomes moving the tokens. So how could a tangible cardstock board and plastic player pieces possibly allow for such sorcery? Before you get your torches out and proclaim witchcraft let me say that the game achieves this through a repeated step each turn in which certain cards are drawn from a pile that generates diseases that the players must overcome. But the randomness has a fantastic twist to it, which I’ll get to soon. All I’ll say is that it makes the games theme come alive.
What is the theme?
The theme is noble and makes you want to be part of it. You take on a role of a specialist e.g medic, researcher, scientist etc. There are 7 unique roles in the game, giving a nice replayability factor to the game. You’re navigating on the world map (the playing board), and your mission is to find cures for four diseases that are breaking out and spreading around the world. The great art on the 2013 edition of the game makes you think you have the latest Hollywood action blockbuster in your hands.
What makes the game unique?
As I already stated all the players are pitted against the game itself. The experience is fantastic and very social. The game encourages dialogue and planning together for the next move. Charmaine even exclaimed at one point that she feels like we are cheating by talking to each other, because the usual routine is to go at each other’s throats as a means to winning other games.
I also love the way that when certain cards are drawn they force old disease cards to be recycled by being placed back on top of the pile. That means that previously played cards will be played again very soon opening up old wounds so to speak. No I am not a sadomasochism, I like the mechanic because it simulates the way that a real world disease would reappear in a close proximity to where it originally emerged.
There is also a brutal action called an outbreak that takes place when a city is just awash with a disease and then gets hit with another wave of the same disease, the outbreak causes all neighbouring cities to catch the disease as well, which may cause a chain reaction and you’re on your way to a swift end.
Finally there are three ways that the players can lose and one way to win, so there is no time for lollygagging or taking whirlwind tours around the globe. The role is clear, cure those diseases before the time run out or before the disease gets too strong.
How many players?
I have now played it as a two player, four player and (I am sad) one player game. For one player I just took on two roles at the same time. You can easily play it as a three player game and I hear the expansion allows for a fifth player. So you can whip it out and show it off when it’s just you two, or if you feel daring to a group of people. I am talking about the board here, you sickos.
Anything bad about the game?
I have found nothing bad about the game so far.
Anything good you haven’t mentioned already?
The game is relatively cheap. I got mine for under $40 AU.
Just like the difficulty levels in the old classic PC game Doom that ranged from ‘I’m too young to die’ to ‘Nightmare!’ Pandemic can be scaled similarly in difficulty. One of the main ways to do that is by controlling how many epidemic cards you include in the game. The easiest (Still difficult at first few plays) amount would include 4 cards, while Nightmare mode would be playing with 6 cards. Some player roles pair better, while others are challenging to play with.
Oh and the disease cubes as seen in the pictures resemble jelly pieces you would find at your local RSL club, mmm delicious viruses.
I found it easy to teach. About five minutes of explaining the rules and we were on our way. Of course there was the occasional rule correction for newbies, but after the first game, everyone knew exactly how they would want to play.
The strategy is great in this game. There are many actions you can take and sometimes one player sees a move that the others haven’t seen. The bouncing of ideas from each other makes the game a great communication building exercise.
The black dude on the cover looks a lot like Dr. Dre – the rapper
Over all 09/10
Mark Twain (who’s actual name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens), the author of such classic stories as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), had a fantastic sense of humour and sharp wit.
Apart from the already mentioned novels I am still to read any other writings of his. But I have read and heard many quotes attributed to the man.
I thought I would include some of my favourite. In no particular order here they are:
1) “Education is the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.”
A nice pithy quote. I wouldn’t go so far as to say uncertainly leads to misery, perhaps some form of realisation you cannot possibly know everything that tends to lead to a great shrinking of ones ego. But I would agree with Mr Twain that ignorance is a bedfellow of inflated certainly and unmoved convictions.
2) “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”
The quote speaks for itself. It is similar to the first quote in some way. Sometimes when you meet new people and you are building a character profile of them in your head, many niceties that been exchanged, maybe even a flow of opinions and ideas was shared. But then just as jarringly as a needle scratching off a record that one passing sentence sends your opinion gage of that person in the negative territory. Anyway Good quote let us keep going.
3) “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
A good quote about lying, especially of the compulsive flavour. I am sure we all has that moment in our lives were a lie came back to bite us because something you said in one situation was exposed through something else.
On the same subject and perhaps expressed in a much more eloquent manner by Walter Scott the quote ‘what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive’ states the same thing.
4)” The lack of money is the root of all evil.”
Putting the old biblical phrase on its head. I think I would have to agree that a lack of money can lead to misery especially if it’s health related, relationship stress if a family cannot meet the basic living expenses, suffering on a wider scale such as the thousands of causes that are woefully underfunded etc.
5)” Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”
Another famous phrase twisted. Quotes like this are what I was referring to when I mentioned the man had excellent capacity for wit.
6) “When your friends begin to flatter you on how young you look, it’s a sure sign you’re getting old.”
I like this quote from Mr Twain as a great example of his ability to observe and then express in a witty way everyday occurrences of the human condition that goes unnoticed by the common folk.
7) “Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”
Just a great quote about living a full life.
Do you get impressed when you see a person walking three or four majestic canines down the road? How about a small group of dogs playing together? Maybe you have witnessed an occasional dog show that places couple of dozen dogs together for an obedience presentation. When the count of dogs in one place begins to hit double digits it’s always somewhat awe inspiring (at least for me). Especially so if all the dogs are of the same breed.
Well now imagine 100 Border Collies all in one area? Such an event had been done in the past . It has been an official Guinness World Record – until yesterday.
On Saturday 27th of April 2013, I had the privilege to attend an event organised by Dr Katrina and her amazing Wonder Dogs, that set out to break the record. In the beginning the aim has been to get anywhere close to the figure, perhaps break the record by a single dog.
Well the event went viral and seemed to spread across the internet like a whirlwind. Soon on the official event Facebook page people began saying that they will be driving up from other states to partake in the attempt. There was even a Western Australia family or two coming East(event took place in Sydney).
So how did it go?
THE RECORD GOT SMASHED! Katrina Facebooked that the count reached 503 Border Collies. Mind you some dogs had to be disqualified due to being uncomfortable around so many other dogs. This jaw dropping number was attained with the help of Katrina herself, the local dog training club, helpful dog owners, obedient doggies and the great attitude of the public.
Here are some photos of the event.