Friday, November 18, 2005


Have just been reading a book about female pirates on the high seas (cross-dressing, hurrah!) and thinking about pirates in space. In Asimov's Space Ranger series, Lucky Starr was instrumental in cleaning up a pirate ring based in the asteroids. Maritime metaphors abound in space literature for obvious reasons. Must think more about this.

Unfortunately, International Talk Like A Pirate day has been and gone without my noticing. Alas.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Sputnik sandwich

One of these days I am going to write a space recipe book. I have a recipe for space food sticks (spookily enough) and a special Woomera hors d'oeuvre that I found in a community cookbook. And now - the Sputnik sandwich! In 1957, a Japanese chef came up with this one. I don't know what was in the sandwich but it was crowned by an olive with 4 toothpicks as antennae. Also a garnish that would work on a martini, it occurs to me.

RIP Space Food Sticks

When I began my space research, it registered at the back of my mind that you could still buy Space Food Sticks in the supermarket. They are still popular camping food, my more outdoor-minded friends inform me. I took a bunch with me to Kourou to give to people. They taste pretty bland, not half chocolatey enough, and the packet has a BMX biker on the front! But I liked them as a relic of the space age.

Then I discovered that Australia is pretty much the only country that makes an Apollo-era spinoff in the space food stick line. White Wings are even importing them to the USA, although most distributors seem unaware that they are Australian in origin.

I badly wanted to put a space food stick in the conference "showbags" for my Woomera symposium on the 4th November. But do you know what? I couldn't find any! Not in the major supermarket chains, not in the smaller ones. Sometime between April and November this year this historic food item has vanished. Goodman Fielder (owner of the White Wings brand) tell me that SFS are now manufactured by Uncle Toby's at Wahgunyah, not a million miles from where I grew up. I will ring them and find out the story!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

An icy cold one goes down well with a slice of lime

Just recently I've decided that the satellite which goes awry in the film 'Ice Station Zebra' (one of my favourites as readers of this blog will know) must be a CORONA.

Space cowboys home on the range

The Woomera symposium was a great success. I was particularly impressed with the film shown by Geoff Speirs and Bev Hocking, a segment on the V2 that is the opening encounter with the redesigned heritage centre at Woomera. It was almost heart-stopping in its intensity.

It was also wonderful to have Andrew Starkey, a Kokatha representative, speak about Kokatha culture at Woomera. Poor Andrew had to drive to and from Port Augusta just for the afternoon, and I would like to express my appreciation for his efforts.

To my regret, no-one from Defence attended. I would not like to second guess their thoughts but word reached me from some quarters that their heritage people viewed the symposium with alarm. But since they didn't contact me personally or come to the symposium to hear what was said, there's not a lot I can do!

The next step is publication.