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Cinnamon patrol

Mr and Mrs Lili Wedding



It's been ages since I've blogged, and loads has happened, but here are a few of the most important things:

Firstly, assorted treats
I participated in a gift swap in Ravelry (to the uninitatied: Facebook for knitters, but much, much better). I gave to the lovely but sadly blogless Mairin, and received a lovely bundle of goodies from the also-blogless (noticing a trend here) SusyMcQ.

By lovely bundle of goodies, I mean YUMMY cherry-kirsch-chocolates, Rowan Kid Classic in a soft blue, a great pattern of a cardi I *need*, festive bath bombs, and a Xmas candle. Such a great gift - David will have to work hard to match it!

Secondly, food-related treats
We hosted Xmas cookie making yesterday. 3 friends showed up and we ate, drank, and made & decorated cookies. SO many cookies. Perhaps a few too many, so I shared some at the office this morning.

Apparently people find actually spicy gingerbread (as opposed to shop stuff) almost too spicy. Huh, who woulda thought? I say down with the shop-bought stuff, make your own so you can actually taste the ginger (And cloves, and cardamom, cinnamon & nutmeg. No mace this time, I was a bit slack!). I'm not changing my recipe, I like the strength of the spice!

Thirdly, undecided treats
My third treat is yet-to-be-decided, though if you were mean you'd say it's kind of a treat in itself and I don't need a real treat. (If you were MEAN, which you mustn't be, because mean people don't read our blog.) I had my 6-month evaluation, and I'm now permanent at my work, yay!

Must think of nice treat to celebrate. New shoes, maybe?

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The Bald Barista

... is at 68 Aungier St (near the big "747 Travel" travel agents) for those who wanted to know.


The death of the kit lens

Now I (theoretically) have spare time, I decided to get back into photography which is another way of saying I'm managed to convince Laura it's okay to shell out hundreds of euros on expensive toys.

Actually it's not as bad as that. For years now I've been angsting over what type of camera / technology I should invest in. I nearly bought digital SLR before we left NZ, but Laura talked me out of it and found me my Leica D-LUX 3 which as proved a very capable little camera.

But yet I long for more. While in NZ, I bought a Canon AE1-P from Trade Me. It's in mint condition and could be brand new (even though it's well over 20 years old). It came with two lenses, a 28mm 2.8 and a 50mm 1.8. In Hong Kong I bought a 135mm 2.8 which is the focal length I came to know and love as a kid playing with my dad's camera.

So I've made the brave decision to keep my old Canon FD kit and augment it rather than buying an expensive digital SLR + new auto focus lenses. Why? First off, unlike a film camera, the digital SLR camera body becomes obsolete every 3 years as technology improves. This is no reason not to buy one, but for me they are not a collectible thing of beauty. Also the professional EOS lenses are _so_ expensive - in the thousands of dollars. I really don't need (or even like) auto focus.

Annnnyway so I decided to get some _real_ FD lenses and I've made my first purchase. A fool and his money are soon parted, and mine was when I won an auction on eBay for a Canon 85mm 1.2L lens. I was then stung 80 euro in duty/VAT by Irish Customs (thanks guys). I'd taken a gamble on this lens as the pictures on the auction were not very clear and the seller didn't really know, or pretended not to know, how to examine the lens for nasties.

Anyway, it turned up and I wasn't too happy. The whole thing looked dirty, the rear lens cap didn't fit and upon close inspection I could see moisture inside the lens. I had decided to try and send it back.

But by the time I got home, the moisture / condensation had gone (and hasn't come back). I found that the rear lens cap was just not of the correct sort, so I swapped it at the camera shop for a correct one and, on the positive side, the lens has no scratches, no fungus, and no oil on the blades (as far as I can tell). And it cleaned up pretty good!

The 85mm 1.2L has to be one of the sexiest looking camera lenses I've ever seen, so I present it to you here: the 85mm 1.2L - the death of the kit lens:

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Coffee & Pizza

We made an important discovery this morning. On Georges St we found a coffee joint called The Bald Barista. The barista himself (who is bald) is from NZ (Chch) and he's been here for 3.5 years. He says he's Ireland's #1 "training barista" (?) and he's trying to re-educate the Irish coffee palate. I think he needs to too, because 80% of the coffee I have here is burnt / over-extracted (which is always such a disappointment.)

Then he offered to make me a flat white! Ah - the taste of home! Good strong coffee, and milk, in just the right antipodean proportions. My mouth ran dry, I worked hard all morning, and by lunch I was just slightly dizzy. Just how I like it.

Also, I found this on the NZ Herald tonight. To the Americans out there: explain yourselves, please?

Pizza lockdown confuses tourist

Housekeeping staff at the Hermitage Hotel in Mount Cook were called to help an American guest who complained she could not get her pizza out of the microwave.

It turned out she had in fact put the pizza in the safe in her room and activated the lock.