My Sunday Photo – The Exploding Potato

My Sunday Photo for this week is of an exploding potato.

The Exploding Potato story is actually a before and after photo series, and it comes with a short story, so bear with me.

Non-perfect vegetable, potato
The not quite perfect potato

I was inspired to pick up this slightly odd looking potato, for reasons detailed in this here post. In order to have the perfect photo to accompany the post I spent the best part of an hour setting up and photographing the damned thing. I wanted to show its not-quite-rightness in all its glory (yes, I full realise the irony of spending large amounts of time setting up a photo of a potato, as part of a blog series that bags food bloggers for doing the same thing with their finished products).

After achieving a satisfactory photo, I chucked this quirky little fellow in the oven with its perfect potato cousins. The idea was simple – jacket potatoes to go with the rest of dinner. However, it had been a while since I had made a jacket potato, so I forgot one key step – prick the potatoes.

After several hours in the oven on a low heat (I was cooking beef spare ribs at the same time, so low and slow was the way to go!), I cranked the oven temperature to about 240C, to finish them off and crisp up the skin.

Being a new-age male who is totally capable of multitasking, I was in the process of putting Hannah into her high chair and talking to Emma on the phone when I heard a dull thud. It had come from the kitchen. I looked over and this is what I saw:exploding potato, potato, oven kacket potato, forgot to prick

Turns out that what I heard was the exact sound made by an exploding potato.

 

After hanging up on Emma, taking a photo and quickly sending the above tweet, I looked a bit closer to inspect the damage.

It turns out that it wasn’t my imperfect potato that had exploded at all. It was one of the perfect ones sitting next to it. In an apparent suicide mission, the perfect potato had exploded (it left the shelf completely, I found the half-empty skin at the bottom of the oven) in an attempt to take out its knobbly brother.

So there it is, my tale of the exploding potato. Don’t forget to read the post here, to find out the full significance of the imperfect potato, and to understand why I was photographing it in the first place!

Photalife
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Spambot, vomit

The Day a Spambot Threw Up in My Comments

There’s something thrilling about receiving a notification for a comment on your blog. It’s not just a sign that someone has read it, it’s more than that. It means that they have been engaged enough to stick with it to the end and provoked enough to feel the need to respond. That’s a powerful feeling.

Six months in and I still get excited when a message pops up in my email. But there’s one way to deflate that feeling pretty quickly – comments from a spambot.

Spambots have a way of sucking the soul right out of you. I still can’t even quite comprehend their purpose in life, other than to really annoy bloggers. It’s not like they are subtly trying to sneak their way onto your comments. They hit you with a blunt force of spelling mistakes and completely contextually irrelevant gobbledegook.

I have noticed that there are some similarities with what the bots say each time, and today it became apparent why. Most of them are working from the same script.

 

How do I know this?

 

A spambot threw up in my comments.

It unleashed its entire arsenal of scripted comments in wave upon wave of nonsensical gibberish. I have taken some screenshots and included them below.

Perhaps I’m being overly cynical. Maybe this was a genuine comment from and actual person named Christal, with a genuine interest in making Silicone bracelets. If that is the case, I’m very sorry. I would be happy to acknowledge that I have ‘enormous ideas’ that have touched some ‘pleasant factors’. In regards to your question about whether I “get a lot oof [sic] spam feedback?” – I do get the occasional bit, yes. As for how I stop it, I have no earthy idea…

The following are screenshots of the extensive message left in my comments section. Do yourself a favour and don’t bother reading them. It will just make you lose all faith in humanity (or perhaps in robot-kind).

If you are considering using the below comments as the basis for your own spambot operation, good luck with that. Better yet, go get a real job.

Spambot Spambot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Daddy Blog
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imperfect vegetable, potato

World’s Worst Food Blogger – The Imperfect Vegetable

The Problem With Our Pursuit of Perfection

There’s a growing problem in Australia. I don’t know if it’s exacerbated by the rise of the food blogger, the reality cooking shows on TV, and Instagram, but I would be willing to place money on those things not helping. The problem is the expectation for perfection in food – the refusal to use the imperfect Vegetable.

Yesterday, on my way into work, I listened to a very interesting interview on ABC radio. The main focus of the interview was on food waste. Apparently, most Australians throw out a ridiculously large amount of food that they purchase in the grocery shopping.

This morning I did some further digging. According to the NSW EPA website: Love Food Hate Waste, NSW households throw away more than 800,000 tonnes of edible food every year. That equates to $10 billion dollars, or an average of $3,800 per household – every year.

The problem is further enhanced by our lack of willingness to buy the funny looking fruit and veg at the supermarket. Apparently we have very narrow expectations for what out produce should look like, and if it doesn’t meet that expectation, it just isn’t purchased. The imperfect vegetable stays behind, languishing in the corner, completely unloved and slowly rotting.

I’m guilty of that. I often pick up and look over a few plums before choosing the ones that look the best, the ones with fewest imperfections. But my attitude and, it appears, everyone else’s (surprise!), is having a massive social impact. It means that perfectly edible food is finding its way to landfill. That must mean two things – we end up with less food, and we end up with higher prices.

World’s Worst Food Blogger – The Imperfect Vegetable

Those of you familiar with this section of the blog know that I’m not the ‘Pintrest Worthy’, ‘Instagram Famous’ type of food blogger. As I explained here, I’ve never figured out how they find the time between making a meal and eating it, to find the perfect angle in the perfect lighting, in order to take the photo. I like to cook and I like the way that the food that I cook tastes, that’s all that really matters. Hence the moniker of World’s Worst Food Blogger.

Today, however, I have spent a long time photographing a piece of food. DON’T PANIC! It’s not for the purpose of food blogging supremacy. Rather, it’s so that I can bring to you the awesomeness of the Non-Perfect Vegetable!

Non-perfect vegetable, potato
Just look at that majestic knob!

I stumbled across this battered bad-boy in amongst the potatoes at the supermarket today. Normally, I would have walked straight past it, without a second glance. I would have concentrated on picking out the best looking potatoes without thinking for a moment about the impact that such a decision has on the entire food supply.

But today, with my new-found sense of self-righteousness, I picked it straight up and put it in my basket.

Does my purchase of one, slightly funny-looking potato save the world? Of course not, don’t be daft. Really, the difference that it makes is absolute bugger-all. If I’m truly honest, I bought the potato as much to have something to write about, as to secure our nation’s food supply.

What it does do is make me begin to think. How much food are we wasting in this house? Can it be avoided? Am I too precious about seeking perfection at the shops? Am I too quick to throw out food that I deem to be ‘past its best’? Perhaps, if we all began to ask those questions, then things may begin to change.

 

The Good news is that there are those out there who are far more noble than I am, in their mission to change our food habits. OzHarvest have just opened Australia’s first ‘rescued food’ supermarket, while the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority has just begun a new study into kitchen waste. Any NSW residents interested in participating can find out more here. Check out both of these great websites for more information about what you can do to reduce food waste.

Twin Mummy and Daddy
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Guest post, Hannah, typing, keys

Guest Post – Hannah

Every good blog publishes guest posts from time to time. It’s a good way of building networks and adding a more diverse range of voices and opinions to one’s work. It breaks up the monologue, which can become a bit stale, a bit repetitive, even a bit boring.

Hannah has been watching me work on my blog for a while now. I try to explain to her what I’m doing and she seems interested enough. But I have a sneaking suspicion that has more to do with the clicking buttons than the hilarious aspects of parenting that I’m constantly immortalising.

It has now reached the point where she clambers her way up into my lap, then reaches for the keyboard with tiny, sticky outstretched fingers. This has become somewhat of a hindrance to my writing, but it also serves the more useful purpose of pulling myself away from the computer and engaging with Hannah.

Today, however, I thought to myself ‘I wonder what Hannah would write?’

What a great idea! What could possibly go wrong? Hannah has been infatuated with the keyboard for a while now, why not give her free reign, and see what blogging gold she comes up with?

 

So here it is. The first ever guest post on Blog Of Dad – Hannah

Hannah is a 14 month old girl. Her real name isn’t actually Hannah, but due to a healthy dose of ‘privacy first’ from her father, she’s not allowed to use her real name on the internet until she is 25. We sat down for a question and response session. I asked the questions and she typed her answers.

 

‘N

Hannah, how do you like being a baby?

 \\\\\\ggg””””””””””””””””’88888888888888888888888888888888888888888 8888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888 8888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888 8888888888888888888888IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII0————————————————

 

What are your thoughts on nap time?

UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU0PNNNNNNL,KOOOOOOOOO

 

What are your goals in life?

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, KKKK——]””’\                                                           LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL=][[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[;. MMMMM/.M

LL

 

Who is your favourite parent?

KiMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM;,MMMMMMLLLLLLLL

 

 

What are your thoughts on current geopolitical issues and what could be done to ease tensions in the South-China Sea, and on the Korean Peninsula?

DEWXCCCCECXWWWWWWQEDCXWXCDXSAAAAAAZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZFFFFFFFFFFFFFF VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVWEDEEE

 

*Section removed*

 

 

 

 

What is your favourite button on this keyboard?

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

 

Thanks Hannah. I think that has provided readers with a valuable insight into the life of a 14 month old. I will, however, have to have words with this ‘KiMMMM…’ person. How about you pick a biological parent next time…

 

I must admit that I have edited Hannah’s response slightly. The reason is that she somehow managed to paste sensitive information from a work email that I had just sent, into her response. While I was thoroughly impressed by Hannah’s newfound knowledge of keyboard shortcuts, I thought it best to remove that information.

To be honest, I don’t even know how she did it. I left her playing with the keyboard for a couple of seconds while I fetched the camera. When I returned, I was very briefly astounded by Hannah’s rapid improvement in spelling and sentence structure. Then I realised what had happened. Who knows what other mischief she got up to in that short time. I hope she didn’t email somebody…

 

I’ll leave you now with this parting comment, made by my wife, Emma, made when she read this post –

 

“Makes more sense than some of yours” – Emma

 

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My Sunday Photo - Sydney Park, wetlands of Sydney Park

My Sunday Photo – Wetlands of Sydney Park

My Sunday Photo for this week is of the water feature in the wetlands of Sydney Park.

Hannah and I have started to make it habit to find a new, most excellent park in Sydney each week. Last week was the wonderful Carss Bush Park, with it’s fantastic playground and bayside setting. This week, the park that we discovered was Sydney Park.

Deep within the heart of this expansive park is the wetlands of Sydney Park. They form a wonderful oasis, so close to the Sydney CBD. Find the right spot and the stresses of modern life wash away.

My Sunday Photo - Sydney Park, wetlands of Sydney Park

Hannah and I had this spot all to ourselves as we ate our grapes. I immediately felt a great sense of calmness. The sound of this spectacular water feature removed and hint of the busy world around us. Every now and then, water birds casually swam past as they too searched for a morning snack. Some people leisurely wondered past on their morning walk, but no-one stopped to share the peaceful space with us.

I chose this particular photo as My Sunday Photo because I liked the effect of the slightly longer exposure on the water. I didn’t have my tripod with me, so I had to brace myself on the handrail in order to keep the camera steady. The exposure was 1/8 sec, which is usually far too slow for me to get a decent shot hand-held, but I seemed to have gotten lucky with this one.

The seagull appeared at just the right time. He hovered over the water feature, wings a blur of movement but the rest of him just still enough.

You can read all of my thoughts about the wetlands of Sydney Park, and see some more photos here. Besides the wetlands, there was plenty of other spaces to enjoy, especially for those with children.

Photalife
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