Playing 3D Sudoku on the New York subway

by Penny Cook

Sibylesquw Ray Bradbury travel quote

I had a 12.00 appointment in Ozone Park to meet a principal. So I HOPSTOPPED the directions and set out very early because I would rather get there than be late. Well, on the platform at Cortelyou, waiting for the Q to get me to DeKalb where I was going to change to the A, some convoluted announcement comes over the loud speaker and of course, it couldn’t be understood. I worked out it was about the D train so I figured the Q was still coming. It wasn’t.

Above ground I found no A train. Nor did I find anyone who knew where one was. So I headed underground again and got on a train to where I knew there would be an A train – 42nd Street (totally wrong direction). When I got off there I walked for miles to the A but at least I was on it.

I had plenty of time, but I was a bit concerned when the train didn’t stop at 80th (where I was meant to get out). Of course an announcement had been made but I couldn’t understand a word of it. Turns out the platform was being repaired. I still had time but I got out at the next stop and the subway attendant gave me a card to call a taxi … on my phone with the rapidly depleting battery. I’m right in gangster type territory so I was pleased when the car turned up and drove me 2 blocks for a fee of $7 (ended up giving him $10 with the tip). When I found my way in to the building with10 minutes to spare, I’d been travelling for 2 hours 20 minutes I produced my photo ID and I was directed to the 4th floor, which turned out to be wrong and when I eventually arrived in what I thought was the right place with 5 minutes up my sleeve, I was told the person I was seeing wasn’t there.

A few phone calls and it turns out the principal thought we were meeting at another school. I didn’t have that information. The person attending to me kindly called me a car, which was going to cost $16 to get to the school. So the car turns up and the young Arabic driver (I’m mentioning race because he had music on and I asked what language it was in and he told me and we got chatting about his life and future) didn’t quite know where to go so we went the long way through Ozone Park to Jamaica – $20 later I arrive. So I finally meet with the principal I’m only 30 minutes late but had been ‘travelling’ for 3 hours.

A good meeting and now I needed to find my way home. I caught a bus to Jamaica Centre where there are a couple of subways, the Long Island Railway and the air train to JFK. A helpful lady next to me directed me to the E train and said stand right there and when the train comes you aks (yes, no typo there) the conductor and he gonna tell yooo. Yooo better off aksing him than looken at the mayap (map). Well … I took a look at the map (thank goodness) because she was going to get me to somewhere on Manhattan that was nowhere near a connection for me to get home.

Sibylesque Subway New York

So up above ground I go and head for the Long Island Railway where I eventually find the right track … but I don’t have a ticket and the train is coming. The lovely guard who was dressed just like the conductor in POLAR EXPRESS said ‘Yoo waait rut thar ma’am, I gunna git yooo awn dat traaiin.’ So when the train pulled in he had a word to the conductor and I was on the train!! I shook his hand and thanked him profusely and sat quietly and comfortably for the next 15 minutes to Atlantic Station Brooklyn. When I arrived I made my way to the Q (on familiar ground now). Hopped on the train and with the remainder of the phone’s low battery, proceeded to play WORDBRAIN. I am on penguin level with no hints left and I just can’t get one word. Next thing I know I’m at Newkirk station, not Cortelyou. Had I been so absorbed that I’d missed Cortelyou … I thought we just passed Church Avenue. Q…B…easy mistake to make….big yellow Q, big orange B. Oh well, it was better than ending up at Coney Island and it was a nice day for another walk!!

So what should have taken 3 hours and 4 trains took 6 hours, 5 trains, 2 cars about 2km of walking, a hundred odd stairs and $30!!!!

 

Travel TalesPenny Cook has been an early childhood educator for over 30 years. She loves to travel  – anywhere. She is currently consulting as an Early Childhood specialist in New York. She has always wanted to live in  a tree house by the beach …..it’s never too late!! Other posts by Penny Cook include From Here to God-Help-Us: XS Baggage and Travel Tales.

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Image source: New York Subway Website

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From here to God-Help-Us ……. XS BAGGAGE

by Penny Cook

Sibylesque airline 2 quote

I met the One. She was at Barcelona Airport and was (was not) checking me in at Iberia Airlines. As I approached the counter early on Sunday afternoon, she took my printed flight details and scoffed ‘ Oh ha…you are way too early. Go away and come back later … and besides, you will be needing to pay 90 euro extra for that second bag.’ After picking myself up off the floor I begged to differ. ‘No, I was told 30 euro extra for the second bag … and that’s what it says on the website.’ ‘No! This is not the website and it is 90 euro. Now go!’

Sibylesque Airline Humour 2 When I returned two hours later, the other One was on check in. He took both bags, processed them through, gave me an aisle seat and said ‘have a good flight.’ I am still wondering – what would have happened to that 90 euro had I handed it over to ‘the One.’  Dare I say she would have been having a night out on the town in Barcelona, courtesy of my second bag.

I met the One. She was at Barcelona Airport and was (was not) checking me in at Iberia Airlines. As I approached the counter early on Sunday afternoon, she took my printed flight details and scoffed ‘ Oh ha…you are way too early. Go away and come back later … and besides, you will be needing to pay 90 euro extra for that second bag.’ After picking myself up off the floor I begged to differ. ‘No, I was told 30 euro extra for the second bag … and that’s what it says on the website.’ ‘No! This is not the website and it is 90 euro. Now go!’ When I returned two hours later, the other One was on check in. He took both bags, processed them through, gave me an aisle seat and said ‘have a good flight.’ I am still wondering – what would have happened to that 90 euro had I handed it over to ‘the One.’  Dare I say she would have been having a night out on the town in Barcelona, courtesy of my second bag.

Travel Tales Penny Cook has been an early childhood educator for over 30 years. She loves to travel  – anywhere. She is currently consulting as an Early Childhood specialist in New York. She has always wanted to live in  a tree house by the beach …..it’s never too late!!

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Image source: airline ruleofthree Tumblr

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Travel Tales: From Here to God-Help-Us

by Penny Cook

Travel Tales

I’m Barcelona bound and after 24 hour very long hours on planes, here are some observations. I wonder why they give you so much food so often? In that 24 hours I was served 4 main meals (3 course) and 2 snacks. I was very impressed with the gay boys next to me who managed to eat everything and keep their trays in tact with all the little containers lined up and with their matching lids. I could barely cope, as I had to explore each one before deciding where to start. They knew what to do … scan, open one, eat it all, close it, and proceed with precision. The flight attendant could barely remove my tray as it was in such disarray. Glad there was no turbulence at that point.

So…here I am in lovely Barcelona. Jet lagged and a little lost. It is a part of the human condition that when giving directions, we all use the universal non specific language of ‘over there’, ‘turn here’, ‘not far’ ,’can’t miss it’, ‘it’s on your left’, ‘it’s on my right’, ‘just a bit’…..fascinating and fairly unhelpful in a foreign city.

Nevertheless, I found a local tapas bar. No little packages. No cold, soggy sandwiches. No gluggy pasta in a non-descript sauce. Bliss. I’ve arrived.

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Penny CookPenny Cook has been an early childhood educator for over 30 years. She loves to travel  – anywhere. She is currently consulting as an Early Childhood specialist in New York. She has always wanted to live in  a tree house by the beach …..it’s never too late!!

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Image source: pinterest

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Happy Little Vegemites hit 60

by Maren Rawlings

Sibylesque vegemite quote

When I was young, I loved Vegemite. It was applied so liberally to my sandwiches or sangers that I was excluded from the lunch swaps. “Eerk, she’s got too much”. My father had several tropical diseases from his war service in the Pacific Islands and New Guinea and my mother appeared to be influenced by the pre-war “health” messages in its early advertising. As with all good campaigns, this began with appeals to the women who controlled the petty (literally) cash on which households ran in the meagre days of the depression.

Sibylesque Happy Little Vegemite Video link 2

See video link to ‘A rose in every cheek’ here.

The era of emotional brainwashing began subtly. Pictures of plates of sangers surrounded by green leaves did not cut it for the exuberant post war years. A joyous jingle ran through our heads as we munched away in the allotted playground eating areas. We’re Happy Little Vegemites was our Marseilles, so that Men at Work’s “man from Brussels” could be expected to hand us a Vegemite sandwich, presumably in acknowledgement of our accent. It did not work for me incidentally and I had to remark in bad schoolgirl French, that I was not British but Australian and we grew vineyards thank you, to source some decent wine in the main square. I must have lost my down under “glow”.

It is really an addiction you know. When the spouse’s activities exiled us to the United Kingdom, I had to buy it in a 4 litre paint tin (beautifully sealed down against the six week sea voyage – where’s a chisel?). By the time we had worked our way to the bottom, the salt had absorbed the humidity and diluted it sufficiently to act like Agar agar. I rang the distributor in London. “Waddya mean it goes off?” We could grow our own antibiotics. My children with their sangers, were envied by those still convicted to school dinners (“You over there with packed lunches, put your rubbish in the bin”). You cannot food fight with a stew, easily anyway.

Sibylesque Happy Little Vegemites

Now when I look at my old love, I find I can friend it on Facebook! I have imagined many personal permutations through a long life and this was a surprise that put a whole new slant on the word “spread”. The third wave of advertising is “relationships”, apparently (after “facts” and “emotions”). Is your personal space occupied by the wholesome and worthwhile? Do you love your Vegemite? Are you personally fulfilled as it caresses your gullet? Or have you had an affair with Nutella? I was a wine snob in Belgium but I can be a yeast purist anywhere in the world, sent from my iPhone.

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Maren RawlingsMaren Rawlings is a fabulously diverse educator and music devotee. She has taught at city and country schools including a 22-year stint at MLC, Melbourne. She has lectured in psychology at RMIT University and Melbourne Uni, written Psychology textbooks and, in 2011, graduated PhD in “Humour at Work” at Swinburne University where she currently tutors.

Maren is President of the Star Chorale, a community choir and this year they sing Verdi’s Requiem with the Zelman Orchestra.

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Photo Source: TV pinterest, Tangalooma volunteers dressed as vegemite, Weekendnotes blog.

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Superfood Claim Super Bollocks

by Kerry Cue

Navy Roman Border    Navy quote 1……..There is no “superfruit”.Navy quote 2

Alexandra Siferlin, The Truth about Antioxidants, Time,             6 AUG 2013.

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Navy Roman Border

The superfood industry spruiks many dubious claims. The first super food, according to Brainpickings website, was spinach.

pic-1-popeye1Back in 1870, Erich Von Wolf , a German chemist, examined the amount of iron within spinach, among many other green vegetables. In recording his findings, he accidentally misplaced a decimal point when transcribing data from his notebook, changing the iron content in spinach from 3.5 milligrams of iron in a 100-gram serving of spinach, to 35 milligrams.  It was corrected in 1937, but too late the myth was well established.

This study inspired the Popeye Cartoon character who gets  colossal strength eating cans of spinach.

Unfortunately, it was just a maths blooper. According to Iron Facts, University Health Center:

1 cup of raw spinach contains 1mg iron.

The University Health Center claims a woman, 15 to 50 years of age, needs to consume up to 33 cups of raw spinach a day. According to the USA National Institutes of Health a woman 50+ only needs 8 cups or 8mg of iron a day.

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Even the much praised blueberry is not very nutritious with only 3 major nutrients Vit C, Vit K and manganese.

Meanwhile, according to an article in New Scientist biochemist Barry Halliwell from the National University of Singapore the best approach to superfoods, antioxidants and diet is to: Stick to flavonoid-rich foods, red wine in moderation, tea, fruits and vegetables.

But the idea of there being superfoods is superbollocks!

Photo source: Halloween Costumes vintage Everyday blog

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How marketing controls your mind or, would you eat buttons? Guess what? Millions do.

by Kerry Cue

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I’m on a maroon quote-130 day diet, so far I’ve lost 15 days.dark red quote 2

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Button sandwich anyone?

casein button 2 etsyThe chemistry I studied at university long, long ago included the industrial uses of casein. Now casein is the protein in milk. It is used to make buttons.

Traditionally, buttons were made from shells, wood, metal, glass and bone. The advantage of casein is that it can be moulded and coloured. (See Plastics Historial Society for the history of casein buttons.)

Casein buttons, buckles and knitting needles were first produced in the UK in the 1914 and continued through until the 1980s!!!! Casein buttons are still manufactured in small batches today.

creepy kid   grilled cheesery blogNow cheese consists of three major ingredients.: fat, protein and water. If you remove the fat, then all you have left is the protein, casein, and water. If you place a piece of low fat cheese in the sun to dry our all you have left is the casein (and some fat). It is a little rubbery. Pop it into a solvent (Nail polish remover. That sort of thing.) to remove the residual fat. Bingo! You get a button.

Of course, the marketing folk want us to believe that low fat cheese is healthy. But,would you eat a button?

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Photo Source:1.  etsy, 2. grilled cheesery blog.

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