Friday, November 5, 2010

Halloween and Blog Progress


Well, progress is a little slower than anticipated - looks like I'll be adding to this record for a little longer yet. Makes sense that I didn't get much of it done on the road. It's mostly picking through and prepping photos that takes the time.

Also, if you're checking back later for articles of interest, I thought I'd flesh out my tag system:
  • Anachronism (like Halloween in this case) - a post containing description of something occurring on a particular day that doesn't fit in with where I'm up to in my travel record
  • Travelogue - a basic "went here, saw this" post. Generally, if I did something on a specific day it'll be either this tag or the first.
  • Curiosities - may be standalone or alongside a "travelogue", but basically saying "I noticed a funny thing today".
  • Eng - some form of relation to engineering
  • Notes - a post that exists purely to list/itemise disconnected observations or "Curiosities"
  • Meta - a post about the blog
So... Halloween. My first real experience of it, save for the time a couple of groups of kids showed up at Drummond St and nobody knew what to do. Chris said "Wait, I just might..." and then disappeared, reappearing several minutes later with a tin labeled raspberry drops. Upon the triumphant opening of the lid, it became evident that the sweet red spheres had undergone significant polymerisation. With the Drummond St residents looking somewhat dismayed, the contents were still offered to the semi-patient kids somewhat sheepishly. I forget the resolution however.

But this time, it's real American Halloween! Our lovely landlords/upstairs residents suggested we might like to try our hands at pumpkin carving. What follows is a brief photographic depiction of the process.

Annie scooping, Robert Carving

Kathleen, and some more fastidious carving

Grumpy and Happy

I particularly like the use of an heirloom variety in its intended manner - as food! Although I'm told that that particular variety doesn't make for good eating. I did however try both the pumpkins pictured in this post. The yellow one was not so sweet but quite nutty, but without a huge volume of flesh. In addition although the flesh was indeed soft after cooking, it seemed to take the form of many lines of latitude (like threads) stacked upon one another within the shell. It was reminiscent of an impression of a cartoon beehive. The miniature Turk's cap was sweeter and with much more flesh, though slightly too starchy for my taste. It did however, to Annie and I at least, resemble a striped variant of the one-up mushroom. I'm keen to trying some varieties when I have some room.

The officially designated "carving pumpkins" in the supermarket are indeed custom-bred. When you open it up, there is nowhere near as much flesh to clear out as one might imagine, probably 6-8cm is the thickness. So after you've taken out the seeds the rest isn't so troublesome. Secondly, the flesh looks like it wouldn't make for good eating. It's quite pale and translucent - and individual cells are visible, somewhat like the inside of a capsicum. It does make it good for carving though - the flesh provides little resistance but still holds shape, which is particularly appropriate for designs like Robert's where the translucency is put to good use.

As for trick or treating, Kathleen and Robert were for dinner out so we were on door duty. I think we only had 4 or 5 attendees. I presume there simply aren't many kids in the area. At least it meant fewer people were confused by two somewhat inexperienced Halloween householders with Australian accents.

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