Tuesday, 26 March 2013

What would the world be like if Zonta Amelia Earhart Fellows didn't exist?

One of the benefits of Facebook has been the connection of Zontians all over the world. I am starting to electronically meet people from all over the globe and we get glimpses into each other's Zonta events.

zonta facebook d24

This year it was such a joy to see so many posted stories of celebration events held for the new Amelia Earhart Fellows. Then I had the joy of finally having such an event here in Canberra for two fab young women and discover why everyone is so excited about these women.


Let me quote the official description:

"Established in 1938 in honor of famed pilot and Zontian, Amelia Earhart, the Amelia Earhart Fellowship is awarded annually to women pursuing Ph.D./doctoral degrees in aerospace-related sciences and aerospace-related engineering. The Fellowship of US$10,000, awarded to 35 Fellows around the globe each year, may be used at any university or college offering accredited post-graduate courses and degrees in these fields."

amelia earhart fellowship zonta

The full details of the Fellowship, it's history and the recipients, can be found on the Zonta International website.


At a lovely dinner, the two Canberra based clubs came together and met two new recipients who had come to Canberra to continue their studies.

Now, when I was in my twenties, I was thinking about the next chocolate bar and how to pay the electricity bill. So I find Amelia Earhart Fellows fascinating! They are working on issues and topics I never imagined existed! And this stuff is about aeronautics and outer space and physics and billions of light years - it is mind stretching to say the least.

Let me introduce two ladies who are involved in some rather astonishing studies!

amelia earhart fellow priyanka dhopade
Priyanka Dhopade, from Canada
Priyanka gave us an overview of her work on fatigue and stress fractures in jet engine blades. I can't really explain it to you but her research is focused on being able to more accurately predict the life and replacement need of these blades before they break and cause a catastrophic jet explosion!

Keeping these things predictably in the air is useful. Look at this! Physics, construction materials, engineering - wow! (click to embiggen)
Of course today Priyanka is working on defence force jet engines, but tomorrow that technology is going into the 747-400 ER (extended range Sydney to Dallas!) that takes me to Orlando.

amelia earhart fellow Sheila Tobing
Sheila Tobing, from Indonesia
Now Sheila is working in an area that is a sizzling hot topic at the moment - Micro Air Vehicles (MAV). But Sheila is not just making things smaller, she is studying the way in which the wings of bees flap (or aeroelasticity) to see how this can be applied to these teeny tiny MAVs, especially with regard to carrying heavy loads.

Let the speculation begin! Why do you think this would this be of interest to the defence force? (click to embiggen)
Fascinating, right?!


For those who, like myself, had not seen this before, the Fellows receive a certificate and a pair of AE "wings" from Zonta International. In addition to speaking about their work, Priyanka and Sheila were presented with their with these by our District 24 Governor, Dr. Kerrie Bigsworth

"Thank you for your work ladies ....

zonta amelia earhart fellowship certificate
...... and please keep doing it!"

and this is their little Amelia Earhart Fellowship 'wings' pin

zonta amelia earhart fellow wings pin
Way cool!

There are 1,368 Fellows in total, so can you imagine the combined intelligence, efforts, outputs, outcomes, contributions supporting the growth of aeronautical engineering, space sciences,  engineering? Also consider the addition of dynamic women entering male dominated fields, being role models and mentors for other young women and stepping up into influential careers. 

So what you think? Do you think it can be possible that the world is a better place because of the efforts of these 1,368 women? 

So how about your Club? 
  • Are you working with your local University to encourage AE Fellow applications? 
  • Perhaps, like us, AE Fellows have come to your local University to continue their studies? 
  • Has your club donated to the AE Fellowship fund with the Zonta International Foundation?

So rather than look for another chocolate bar I'm off to read To Space and Back.


In a happy coincidence, a fellow club member posted the following story regarding Amelia Earhart. This was the speech given, at this ceremony, by Dr. Susan Riding - a member of my club, a member of the ZI AE Selection panel and herself a twice award AE Fellow. Check out this link to read the speech and learn the story of Amelia.

zonta amelia earhart fellow susan riding
Mrs Riding tells the tale

When we get to Orlando in 2014, perhaps we could go out to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral?


Sunday, 17 March 2013

How Feedly is the new Google Reader

Don't get mad. Get .... another reader.

Get one that wants you.

Get one that wants you soooo badly that they will do all the tedious work for you

Get Feedly.

I just want to be with someone who wants to be with me. Although I notice the Pope is reaching out ....
After the debarcle of the Google Reader post, I went looking for a suitable replacement.

The reason I chose Feedly??

They made it sooooo easy for me to swap.

The Feedly chaps had a premonition that Google would do the evil they promised never to do and they created a little tool that automatically transfers all Google Reader subscriptions over to the Feedly reader tool - in, like ... 5 seconds.

I was instantly reading all my kitten blogs!

click this Feedly blog link

All your options waiting for you
I use Firefox - so I clicked the link, the Firefox app loader ran automatically. I had a few Firefox standard warnings - I clicked "allow". Closed and restarted Firefox and Feedly was just there!

I opened it and clicked on LOGIN

Feedly offered to link to my Google account, and I said YES, PLEASE!

Feedly has grown up to be polite
and in less than 5 seconds I had a new reader home page!! How good is that?!

I had read everything - so I can't show you how it displays
The Firefox app automatically stuck itself in my favourites!

Top left hand corner - green button - sitting there politely waiting for me

So if you have developed an interest in using an RSS feed reader (and they are still AWESOME), esp. if looking to replace Google Reader, Feedly may be the solution for you.

Feedly does have apps for "smart" devices such as android and iOS - however I suspect there are more impressive tools for your tablet - like Flipboard - that take advantage of touch screen technology. However the point of this blog is to inform about Orlando not the internet.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Flying Fish Flavours Fly Faraway

YAY! Time for another restaurant review!

Today, it's Flying Fish Cafe - the top restaurant at Disney's Boardwalk Inn.

Sorry - you can't eat the signature mascot. (source food&wine)
It had been three years since The Ken Man and I had enjoyed a fabulous meal here, feeling we had discovered a hidden gem. I was really keen to see how it had stood up over time.

The cafe has a fairly informal but upmarket cafe feel. The little flying fish fly through the cafe using little parachutes, there are golden fish scales up the columns. This open space becomes very busy an fast paced and waiters and guests are coming and going (and going and coming and always too soon.) The lack of table cloths, open kitchen and hard walls can make it a bit noisy - but a fun bustling noisy.

(source: Walt Disney Company)

Once seated, I perused the menu looking for all my favourite things. The menu is predominately fishy in a modern American style. In some ways it seemed a bit fussy with too many special touches and ingredients.

Appetizers include things like "Yellowfin Tuna Tartare and Crispy Tempura Tuna-Vegetable Sushi Roll - Hijiki and Wakame Seaweed, Yuzu Tobiko, Wasabi Foam, with Sweet-and-Spicy Sauce"; and "Our Signature Flying Fish Cafe "Crispy Maine Coast Jonah Crab Cake" - Savory Vegetable Slaw, Roasted Red Pepper Coulis, and Ancho Chile RĂ©moulade"

Now I am a reasonably experienced diner but I was a bit lost in this menu.  I chose the cheese - the "artisanal" cheese!

Creamy cheesy goodness - YUM!
I love cheese. And here was a huge plate of it! I enjoyed the whole thing and it was a very decent serving. Each variety was my new favourite as the plate mixed up a soft, a hard, a goat, a blue etc Really well chosen and generous. In all honesty, I could have stopped the meal there.

But onwards - tally pip! to the main (or entree - as in the USA). Tagged with another impossibly long description I was served "Rainforest Pepperberry-grilled Kurobuta Pork Tenderloin - leek, fontina and truffle-laced pasta Mac n Cheese, grilled asparagus with kiln-dried and fresh Bing cherry, Port wine, balsamico, tiny onion and trumpet mushroom compote". I wonder what that Kiln does to the asparagus that can't be done in an oven?
yep - all of that is on this plate
This was a big powerful rich strong flavoured dish. Just my thing! Pork was a loin - very lean - however it was high quality, cooked evenly and moist. Everything was dowsed in the strong flavours from the complex jus.

Mac and cheese is a US kiddie standby appearing on many menus at Disney - but this one was a special adult version and it was a whole bowl! This one stunned me - somehow the balance of flavours was magnificent. I could clearly taste each of the leek, fontina and truffle. How wonderful that not one flavour dominated. The mac and cheese is also available to be ordered as a side dish.

There is a reason why this is permanently on their menu. This dish would suit anyone who is after complex big bold flavours and is VERY HUNGRY - what with a large portion of protein and then more proteiny carbs.

Because I can't control myself I had ordered a side dish. The Fines-Herb roasted and cultivated mushrooms. Just because.

The crockery here comes only in the large size.
These were also lovely. Not watery, but buttery and tender. Much more gentle and subtle I flavour. Of course I only had a few spoons. There was no way to eat the entire bowl!

So you can see the portions are very generous and really I could have easily shared all this and still be sated.

So sitting there like Mr. Creasote, I can't remember how or why but some force over took me and I ordered dessert. I admit I avoided all the chocolate, the creme brulee, the puddings and decided that the novelty of "Trio of Concession Sweets - Out on the Boardwalk - Popcorn Mousse and Caramel Corn, Cherry-limeade popsicle, dark chocolate fudge burger, and pound cake fries" had to be experienced.
Didn't leave out an ingredient - you know what you are getting

This is where the restaurant makes an uncharacteristic departure. After being a solid, protein and carb type of place, suddenly this dessert goes off into that Heston Blumenthal space of "nothing is as it appears". However it is at least good fun, and it is congruent with the Boardwalk location.

Was I fine dining or at the drive-in?
The popcorn mousse was really bland. Just soft and sweet with no real defining flavour. The caramel corn on the top tasted OK but the popcorn was stale and soft.

The "burger and fries" only got worse.

Something dragged out from under the boardwalk.
The fries and the "bun" were made out of cake. Dry, stale, hard pound cake. One bite was enough for me.

The "Burger" had a "meat pattie" made out of solid dark chocolate. It was probably made from organic, fair trade, venezulan beaver chocolate but it tasted like compound mixed with butter to me. One bite was enough for me. There were some little pearls that were made out of the same chocolate but I don't know what they represent. The "cheese" was a flat square of white chocolate that had been coloured with "cheese" food colouring. yeah - one bite. Honestly - by this point I thought they had bought me the display dessert that had been in the front window for a week.

So I sat there sucking my icy pole. Despite its dark red colour, it had a very strong tart lime flavour. Turns out this was a fab ending to the meal! Cleansed my palate, was light and fruity and washed everything down. Saved the dessert for me.

3 Mr Creasotes - for absolute piggy factor with HUGE servings of protein and carbs


And 2 spoonfuls of sugar - mostly good - although I had delicious cheese - they didn't prepare that - they choose it - but .... well..... and let down by dessert; and I wonder if bold strong flavours take away some of the subtly - however enjoyable those flavours are. (since when did i become sooo judgmental??)

Go to the Boardwalk for Flying Fish - stick to their time tested standard dishes as what they do best. You will have a fab filling flavourful foody experience.

Boardwalk at night - whisking me back to the 1940's

Go to allears.net to check out the full Flying Fish Cafe menu and decide - is this one place you want to dine when in Orlando in 2014?

Sunday, 10 March 2013

IGNORE THIS POST: YOU CAN'T set up an RSS feed reader in Google

OK - short story long:

UPDATE 14 March '13: People are complaining all over the world - petitions have sprung up! sign this on on Change.org - in the first day more than 27,000 people have.
UPDATE 15 March '13: 93,000+ signed the petition. Google holding out and insisting they will not change


I'M SHATTERED! Google have announced that Reader will be shut down on 1 July 2013.  Many years of happy reading have been thwarted by Reader's lack of advertising.

As soon as I work out my replacement, I'll let you know. You might as well ignore this post.

I was at my Zonta Area Workshop yesterday (big YAY! to Area Director Rae who broke tradition with an innovative agenda based on social media) - AND..

..  was saying how my target audience for Mrs. Banks is not really the internet-addicted, blog reading, kitten adoring, couch potato I have become.

and then the realisation hit.

I could make it easier for everyone!
..... by showing you how to set up an RSS feed reader

RSS = Rich Site Summary

You set up one "reader" website that lists all the blogs you want to follow - on that one page - and it has a viewing panel so that you read the blog posts in that one reader page.

RSS is wonderful because:

  • You can see lots of different sites in one reader
  • The reader is dynamic and tells you when there is new content
  • All your favourite and frequently visited sites are displayed in one list - no need to remember URLs or go searching
  • It is dead set easy to start.
I use Google Reader - so let's use that as our example. GOOGLE READER IS NO MORE!

This is what it looks like:

It tells me when there are new posts I am yet to read

I no longer have anything better to do, but read all these blog posts!


Create a Google account

If you have an existing Google account you don't have to do anything- SKIP THIS STEP - YAY!


Go to your favourite website - Mrs. Banks, right?  Look for the RSS feed subscribe button and CLICK IT!

Find this orange button - top right hand side on Mrs Banks - scroll back up!

You hopefully get something like this:

SELECT "GOOGLE"  DON'T select Google!

Select "add to Google Reader"

And your Reader will open with the link embedded ready to go!

It takes longer to read this post than it does to set up a RSS feed reader.


Bookmark the link to your new Reader in your browser favourites.  We all use different browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera - so it will be slightly different in each browser BUT ALL HAVE A FAVOURITES LIST

Create a one-click link to your new reader page in your Favourites for super-easy-fast access

And that's all you do.

When you want to add a new blog, just do the same thing: click on the orange RSS button on the chosen blog, and in less than 10 seconds the blog will be in your reader.  It is SOOO EASY!

One last hint: remember this is a READER - you can view the post but you can't interact with the post, say leaving a comment. Click on the post title and it will open the actual blog site, in a new window, and then you can leave a comment on the post and see the whole blog site.

Happy Internetting!!

If you found this post useful, why not share it with your friends?

Saturday, 2 March 2013

We all love Pre-Loved Fashion at the Zonta Club of Canberra Breakfast

Holy guacamole - Last night and today was my club's major annual fundraiser - our Pre-Loved Fashion Sale
Not the most sophisticated but has all the important information!
I'm so tired I don't have the strength to use BOLD or colours or exclamation marks or anything.


But this result was enough to crack out the crayons - how's that money in the kitty?!

In 5 years that is our best result ever! 

We did the same things we always do: go to our storage unit and sort clothes - Our Shed Queen, Grace,  tells me for 336.5 hours over 4 months

That makes our time worth $ 64.53 / hr

Josh Goot dress - walked out the door
Went to the same venue, we ran a cafe, we ran a raffle, we ran a book stall - but most of all - we sold squillions of clothes.

Before the hoards descend
We copied this idea from our ZI President Lynn McKenzie and her club: Zonta Club of Wellington, New Zealand, when one of their members (Sharon - the Queen of thinking BIG) transferred to our club here in Canberra taught us how. And we all know the fabulous wardrobe Lynn has the joy of wearing!

NO - These are not Lynn's clothes - juxtaposition purely co-incidental
Z Cafe (said with a French accent) where we have rather over catered - it was CAKE for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
I was the raffle queen. We were inundated with raffle prizes this year. It was all rather surprising and last minute and in truth we didn't take full advantage of the raffle situation. 

Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries, Longchamp travel goods, Chefs Toolbox kitchen implements, L'Occitane hair care, Nutrimetics facial, UltraTune Car Servicing, Alan White nail polish, Mariah Carey Perfume, Massages, dinner at Rama's, and Rod Stewart memorabilia made up our prizes.
My favourite raffle prize story was a young 14 yr old who was SUPER excited at all the packages. She returned a few times to buy more tickets, hoping for something flashy! Delightfully she was the first person drawn and had her pick of ANYTHING. She choose to go to the salon and have a pedicure - what a fun experience for a young girlie!! When I rang her she was too excited to talk on the phone!

Check out, bag up and pay up!
Over the years, we have saved our money and used government grants, accessed bargain sales and built up our stocks of clothing racks, coat hangers (oh - we have sooooo many hangers), mirrors, tables, and display stands. We are almost self-sufficient.

Dresses waiting for new, loving owners
We had some great donations this year, and have set up deals with local refuges and Working Wonders to take our excess.

Some white hot labels!
Another favourite story was of the woman who had donated a fabulous jacket she was no longer wearing. Over the weeks following she lost some weight and decided she wanted that baby back! To her credit, she turned up at the sale and bought it.

set up almost complete. Club Pres, Lesley, and VP Lauren survey the scene
There are so many people who come together to make this work - to help us raise this astonishing amount, all of which is used to support our Zonta projects.  From the people who donate, our members who sort, hang, lug, set up, pack down, bake, clean, promote and count. To the Hon Zon husbands - our 'muscle' who lift heavy things whilst we point in vague directions. And to the hundreds of women who attend our sale, year after year, and bring their friends and spread the word.
Our Project Queen, Penny is planning on coming to Orlando and you can all meet her and hear her story.
Only thing left to do is celebrate and bask in the moment!
Thank you women of Canberra - today we came together to make a better world for women.

You can now join our new Zonta Club of Canberra Breakfast Facebook group and keep up with all our adventures.

Do you want to profile your own club's fundraiser or service project here on Mrs. Banks? Contact me and let's work it out.

Oh - WOW - a new record breaker fundraiser for our club. Still smiling.