Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Birthdays And Cyclones

Man, Queensland's copping it. Cyclone Yasi -- that is the biggest murtherin' storm I've ever seen on Australian radar. Category five, headed for Innisfail. (Guess we're going to be paying a fortune for bananas again.)

Silliness aside... I'm nervous. My Dad lives up on the Atherton tablelands along with my stepmum. They reckon it'll still be Category Two when it blows through their place.

Dad's no fool. He's got the place taped up and battened down, and Rose has already trundled off to her sister's brick and concrete place. But a storm this size... fuck. And then there are my Cairns-based friends.

I'm kinda chewing my nails here. I went through a few cyclones as a kid. They were a bit scary during the blowy part, but afterwards the rain and flooding were pretty much just an irritation, for a kid. Power outages, roads cut - yeah, we'd eat tinned food for a few days, read by candlelight, take cold showers.

But nothing I went through was bigger than Category 3. And this thing... it's a friggin' monster.

Take care, those of you in that part of the world. Look after each other.

Meanwhile, down here in Tas it's Natalie's birthday.... yay!

There's the Mau-mau applying rainbow sprinkles to the epic two-story chocolate cake I baked. The Mau-mau is of the opinion that there's nothing which cannot be improved with a liberal spray of rainbow sprinkles.

That's the cake-beast from above. Two layers of rich chocolate cake with a layer of home-made raspberry/lemon jam between, and vanilla-cream icing. The writing on top is... kind of messy. I admit this. It isn't easy to write in pink vanilla-cream icing using an empty syringe as your piping bag, you see.

I wouldn't have it any other way, though. There's something about using an empty syringe to decorate a doctor's birthday cake which is just... proper.

She got two Wii games, a couple of books, a couple more books -- and flogging great 1.5 terabyte external backup drive, plus a promise from yours truly that I will back up her damned computer every week or two.

I mean - she did finally get rid of Vista, after all. It's the least I can do.


  1. Yep, got lots of family up there myself, including the Tablelands. Fingers crossed for all up there.

    Happy Birthday to Dr Nat, and the Mau-mau is obviously correct.

  2. Yeah Happy B'day Nat,

    Vista I ask you, honestly.

    Cyclone Yasi, is a monster and classed by the BOM as a Severe Tropical Cyclone, Category 5. Katrina was also a Category 5 Hurricane for all our US readers playing at home.

    To this day the Wooh_WooH Wooh of the cyclone warning that they would play on the radio or TV to announce a cyclone bulletin chills me. I think for anyone of our generation who grew up in QLD its a similar response, visceral and primal.

    The_Weapon and I have been tracking it on BOM website and watching updates. I've used it as a way of further developing his disaster prep mind set. Having come through the recent floods he is certainly in a receptive mood to learn the basics of preparedness.

    My thoughts are with those staring down this monster.

  3. I had wondered about you and Barnes and am thrilled that y'all are safe. However, I will continue to hope the folks who are affected will pull through this o.k. Katrina was a superbitch- hopefully this cyclone won't be as bad.

    On a lighter note, what a great birthday for the Doc! That cake looks freakin' tasty mate.

  4. Steph: Katrina was bad. This thing was just as bad or worse in terms of intensity... but in terms of size, Katrina was much smaller.

    The reports are coming in now. Still nobody dead, or even badly injured. The government did a lot of organising, and people took precautions. It's looking better than it could have.

    Tully's fucked, mind you...

  5. A quick apology to Steph: Katrina and Yasi were indeed of similar size and intensity. I was thinking of cyclone Larry (what a crap name for a storm, eh?) that went through the same part of Queensland a few years back. Larry was also category 5, but much, much smaller in size than Yasi.

  6. Ms Pants: I yam very proud of that cake. Was a time, not so long ago, I couldn't even bake a cake from a box. And that was an odd thing, because I am a notorious cook, able to create eclairs and profiteroles, creme brulee and a host of other goodies.

    But then I bought the first new oven of my life, and I discovered that a decent oven makes an enormous difference to your baking abilities. So enormous, in fact, that the cake above -- which was light, fluffy, and delicious, thank you -- was scratch built. No goddam recipe at all: just a knowledge of the Way of Cake, and the right ingredients.

    (Okay. I used self-raising flour instead of building my own out of baking powder and plain flour... but what the fuck, eh? I mean, I didn't grow the wheat and grind the flour either, did I?)

    I would happily give you a piece of the cake if there was any left. But I have children. They like cake.

  7. Understand Barnes' comment about the cyclone warning. I did cyclone Tracy and the whole thing chills me.

    However, had a friend suggest that the whole media response was kind of 'disastertainment'.

    To finish, it's great when these things turn out to be nowhere near as bad as predicted.

  8. Agreed on the oven; my meringue has never been better since moving to a place with a decent oven. Disappointed to hear you didn't grow the wheat and grind the flour, but there's always next time.

    PS Can I use "knowledge of the way of the cake"? Thanks