Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Hooray for overtime

Well, I'm stealing a few minutes from work (the servers are down temporarily). Basicaly things have gone horribly wrong this week. The only good thing about it is that 1) I get lots of overtime and 2) I prove how useful I am. This is good because there is apparantly a pay review in december, even if they didn't plan it, they are giving me one and I'm getting a BIG raise because quite frankly they are significantly underpaying me right now, even with overtime fattening my check.

Life for the last few days has pretty much been wake up come to work, work a long time go home sleep. I had a couple hours this morning to put away groceries (bought off the internet) and play a little playstation (Tenchu - a pretty good ninja game).

Servers are back, time for me to get back to work. This post made no sense, good job I'm doing numbers and pulldown menus right now :D

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Rugby Time (The Director's Cut)

As some of my more observant (stalker?) family members noticed, I edited my last blog post to remove references to a fight. Contrary to popular belief, this wasn't censorahip or anything exciting, I just wasn't particularly happy with my writing.

Yes, someone started a fight with me during my first rugby game in Malta. I tackled him, he punched me in the head, I retaliated by grabbing his jersey and punching him several times. Like most fights on a sports field, it didn't last long and nobody inflicted much damage. The referee didn't notice because he was busy watching the other team score their first try (of many). Our team was bigger and tougher, but they were faster and more technically polished (many of their players are in "Malta A" and so trained all summer. Most of our players are big and like running into people.

Without good backline defence or top rate forwards (if you're going to win ground a few meters at a time you have to be very good at keeping the ball), mobility is usually going to win over size.

But getting back to the fight (which was probably the most interesting thing about the game (although it was a pleasant experience to be one of the better players on the field). Yes, my parents brought me up to think that fighting was wrong (I'm not sure how well they succeeded, since I joined the army after leaving high school, but anyway, it's not their fault). I don't usually endorse violence (unless it's ninja-style, I'm cultivating a humourous obsession with ninjas at the moment).

I'm not particularly short tempered, but there are a few things I just don't tolerate, and as one of the other team's forwards found out, one of them is cheap shots - if you're going to attack someone (not that you should), at least do it fairly.

The rules of the game are there to protect players, if you deliberately break them, you should be sanctioned. In a perfect world the referee would instantly see and punish all wrong doing, but the world isn't perfect, and a little bit of rule bending (although not to hurt other people) is kind of part of the game.

OK, this is much less well thought out than I had hoped, I got distracted a few times. I'm going home now.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Rugby time

Well, today I played my first game of rugby in quite a few years. I'm now a proud and valued member of the Aligators RFC (one of the 5 clubs in Malta). After losing 13 of last season's starting lineup they were pretty happy to hear they'd be getting a crack NZ import flanker. Then they discovered it was me ;) Actually, I am in the unfamiliar position of feeling fairly secure in my place in the starting lineup. I'm not a superstar by any means, but I'm handy.

It was so good to get back on a rugby field.

I made some decent clearouts at rucks and a few solid tackles. Did a bit of running with the ball too, but the bigger guys on the team are more effective at that.

We lost, thanks to their backs being a lot faster and fitter than ours. But it was great fun. The All Blacks crushed Ireland, but England looked worryingly good in their victory over Australia. The match in a couple weeks will be very interesting (as will the next time we play these guys since we are the second best team in the country right now and improving fast).

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Busy Busy Meltdown Busy

Well I blatantly stole the title, but you're lucky I'm even posting.

Work has had a bit of a crisis recently, which has been kind of fun. One of my dirty little secrets is that deep down inside, I like stress. Yeah, mister "I'm so laid back it's a wonder I don't topple over", has a dark side which gets a buzz from the twisted feeling you get in your stomach when everything feels like it's going wrong.

Hehe, but let's blog about food instead, since I seem to be around work constantly (most of the people I know in Malta at the moment work with me) and so have no urge to write about it here.

I've been making a lot of pasta recently, fairly simple stuff. Obviously, pasta is simple, although boiling it up with a chicken stock cube in the water and a pinch of oregano is a big improvement. But even the sauces aren't rocket science. A little care and flair (when the world recognises my unique genius and I get my internatinal TV show, that's going to be a catch phrase I think) can produce a pretty tasty dish.

I'm proof that any idiot can cook.

Pasta for dummies.

Big Fryingpan
Wooden Spoon
Chef Knife
Chopping Board
Stove top

Cooking oil (I like using olive oil, but whatever works)
1 Chicken breast
2-4 rashers bacon
1 Yellow Pepper (Capsicum in Kiwispeak)
1 onion
Garlic (I use 4 cloves, 2 would be plenty)
Frozen sweetcorn
Bottle / can basic pasta sauce.
Mixed Herbs
Chicken stock cube

Break a couple of cloves of garlic off the head. Crush them using the flat of the knife (turn it sideways and use the palm of your hand on the side of the blade). Peel them then slice into little bits.

Peel the onions and slive them into little bits. The easiest way to do this is to chop the top and bottom bits off, then cut about half way through the onion and then peel off the outside layer of onion.

Chop the pepper. Again, slice the top and bottom bits off to start. It can get a bit tricky here, but if you slip the knife down inside and carefully work it round, you should be able to slice away most of the seedy rubbish. Once you've stripped off most of the white gunk, slice the pepper into little bits.

Slice the chicken breast and the bacon into little pieces.

Half or two thirds fill the saucepan with water, place it on the stove. Add a splash (one quick tip of most bottles, about 15-30ml) of oil and the chicken stock cube (break it up first). Leave this until the water starts boil.

Add the garlic, a bit of oil, and some mixed herbs to the frying pan over a medium heat. Add in the chicken and bacon. Stir frequently.

Once the chicken bits are white all over, add the pepper and onions, and continue to stir.

When the water starts to steam, add the pasta to the saucepan.

Continue to stir the frying pan until the chicken starts to go dark brown, making sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Then turn the heat down and add your pasta sauce. Add a bit of water to the emtpy bottle / can, slosh it about and then tip the tomatoey water into the frying pan too. Continue to stir the sauce gently, adding another pinch or two of herbs.

When the pasta starts to feel just a little too chewy, tip the corn into the saucepan.

When the pasta to done to your taste, turn the stove off and drain the pasta.

Put the pasta on plate(s) or containers, whatever you plan on doing with it.

Turn the fryingpan off, and spoon or pour the sauce on top of the pasta, put some cheese on top.

Eat (and feel rather pleased with yourself.

Next time, gourmet baked beans on toast.

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