Festival of Winds
Emmy and Gaby
Friday, April 30, 2004
The best tagline for a movie... ever: A romantic comedy. With zombies.
It is from a British movie called Shaun of the Dead, and also carried the user comment on IMDB of: One of the best British romantic zombie comedies ever made. I wonder how many fit into that catergory.
Theres a knock at the door
Lisa and I are sitting at home, minding our own business, each contemplating the wonderful things we could have for dinner if we had any food in the house, when a loud sounds startles us.
"Is that the door?" Lisa asks.
"I think so" I reply, walking to the door. "Who is it?" I ask.
"It's Cindy and Peter." comes the voice from the hall.
At that point the door gets flung open and we welcome our first uninvited guests to our house. It was quite an exciting thing as noone has previously just stopped by to say hi. It turns out that they were going to meet up with Simon and grab dinner and wanted to know if we wanted to join them. Since our previous plans, Govinda's was cancelled due to the lack of a good movie playing there, we jumped at the opportunity to go out. The five of us bundled up (it's getting cold at night here now) and headed on over to The Spot, in Randwick where numerous restaurants awaited choosing. We ended up settling on Thai Fire Fry with the help of a 15% off coupon handed to us. This restaurant is apparently known for the large jets of flame that come soaring up at regular intervals from the kitchen, located just behind a clear plastic partition, although not by us until we sat down. After a delicious peanut curry (and other great dishes had by everyone else) we were all basking in the fire's warm glow when, without warning, a large majority of the restaurant starts breaking out in coughing fits. I'm assuming it was due to some ingredient that had just been thrown in the fire, but it was somewhat funny to see an entire restaurant break out in coughs together, mostly due to the oddity of the synchronization and the resulting sounds that were made. Post dinner we headed across the street to Sugarplum (fairy) where we proceeded to order "The Big Papa", a 12 scoop ice cream dish filled with all sorts of chocolate goodness. That wasn't enough for Cindy and Simon though, who proceeded to order an additional 3 scoop to top themselves off. Following the indulgence we headed back to our apartment where we decided to watch "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels". I really enjoyed it, somewhat surprisingly, because in the back of my head something said to me that I wouldn't, but it turned out to have one of those great twisted plotlines where everything ends up folding back on itself to (almost) resolve itself by the end. And that was the night; definitely not what I thought it would be like, but lots of fun nonetheless.
Thursday, April 29, 2004
My own personal nature reserve
I found a nature preserve in the town I live in today. I had walked from Coogee beach to Maroubra beach, and then decided I would get on the first bus headed in the right direction, regardless of whether it was going right where I needed to go. It didn't, so I got off it a couple kilometers from home, and started walking down the road. On my way, I saw a sign behind a bunch of bushes and went over to read it. Imagine my surprise when walking up a hill on a decently busy road to find a sign saying "Fred Hollows Reserve" I walked a little further into the bush and saw a path opening up into a wooded area. It was a beautiful little trail through a mini forest, and as I made my way through the sounds and sights of the city disappeared and I was left on a totally quiet bench on a boardwalk running over a little stream. It seemed very surreal and although slightly marred by some grafitti in places, it was still a wonderful thing to be there, knowing that most people who live in the area have never seen it, and I felt really lucky that the bus that happened to come by was the one that did. It was the highlight of my day- just one of those surprises that makes a long walk worth it.
I went frolicking among the bullrushes today (even if they were basically weeds introduced by the European settlers in the 1800's). Major gold star to anyone who gets it and leaves an appropriate comment.
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
It was slightly saddening to discover that GORP doesn't exist down under, at least- you won't find anyone calling it that here. Instead we get SCROGGIN: Sultanas, Chocolate, Raisins, Orange Peel (candied), Ginger (crystallised), Glucose, Imagination and Nuts. Doesn't have the same ring to it as "Good Old Raisins and Peanuts". Plus, this now raises the question of 'what exactly is the difference between raisins and sultanas?' Since everything in the store here that would have been raisin filled back home is now chock full of sultana goodness (Raising Bran = Sultana Bran, etc.) you would think that they are the same thing with a different name. However, by including them both as seperate items in the SCROGGIN, it implies a difference. Quite a quandary, isn't it? Someone care to enlighten me?
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
More pictures are up, but if you are looking for anything that has anything to do with me, places I've been or anything of the like you won't find it there. They are just fun pictures I took on a long exposure setting from a balcony overlooking the harbor. Its really just long streaks of light, but they came out pretty and I liked them so I wanted to share.
Monday, April 26, 2004
Return of the biscuits
For anyone interested in trying the wonderful Australian Anzac biscuits, the recipe is really easy. What you need is 1 cup each of sugar, flour, dessicated (shredded) coconut, and rolled oats. You also need 1/2 a cup of butter, 2 Tablespoons of boiling water, 1+ Tablespoon of Golden Syrup (maple syrup can be substituted but its just not as good) and 1 Tablespoon of baking soda. Mix together the sugar, flour, coconut, and oats. Melt the butter and add the syrup to it. Add the baking soda to the boiling water and stir till it dissolves. Then add the water/soda mix to the butter and syrup and stir till it froths. Then add it to the dry mixture, stir till evenly distributed and bake on a greased cookie sheet about 15 minutes at 350° F (180° C). Let them cool and then eat many! The recipe should give you a little more than 2 dozen cookies.
So the next project for the day was to make Anzac biscuits. Lisa and I decided at quarter to midnight (local time) that we wanted to make them, but were lacking in Golden Syrup, Rolled Oats, and Shredded Coconut. At that point we decided to run over to Coles and get the ingredients we needed. Since they close at midnight normally, and today was techinically a holiday, we didn't know what we would find. We walked into the entrance of the shoppping plaza where it is located, and saw from a distance that the roll down walls were already pulled down, and almost turned around, but decided to check it out to be sure. As we got close we saw that the last one on the end was still open, and were told by a security guard that we had 2 minutes before the closed up. We ran through the store, found everything we needed for the cookies (plus milk) and made it out as the 2nd to last customers. Now they are in the oven, and if the dough taste is any indication of the cookie taste they are going to be fabulous.
Today is Anzac Day (Observed) down here in Australia. Anzac day is observed every April 25th, and is approximately the equivalent of Veterans Day in the US (celebrated November 11th). Australians also have a holiday on the 11th of November, called Remembrance Day which is the equivalent of Memorial Day in the United States which falls on May 30th (although it is observed on the last Monday of May). There was more I was going to say, but it somehow seems insignificant after reading a lot about the history of the holidays.
Friday, April 23, 2004
Went to the most interesting garage sale ever today- on the 3rd floor of an apartment building. There were dozens of signs all around advertising it, but when I got there it was really just 2 tables full of kitchen ware, mostly going for 50 cents each. It just seemed like for the amount of effort the guy put in advertising it he would stand to make a decent amount of money, but combine a lack of decent merchandise, and a location that was hard to find owing to a lack of signs actually at the building that showed where to go and I just don't get why the whole thing was going on. Anyway, off to Eastgardens (a Westfield mall).
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
I have a gmail account! My email there is my "first name . last name @ gmail.com" should anyone wish to try it out and send me test emails. I think it works without the period in there as well, but its something fun to play with for now, and nice to know that my name hadn't been taken quite yet. Anyone else who uses blogger may want to try signing in and seeing if they get lucky and have the message come up on the right hand side of their screen for them if they want an account.
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Sad news for Australia today as the PM here, John Howard, was cursed by an aboriginal women as he was getting into a car yesterday. The worst part is, I don't know if it could do any more harm to him here is his own country, where noone seems to like him anyway.
Sunday, April 18, 2004
Vacation, Part 1
Here we go, starting with last Friday, April 9th. Friday was the first day of vacation- after finishing up a test on Thursday evening at 9pm. After sleeping in (cause dinner didn’t get made till some extremely late time after 9 the night before) I got up, and basically had a chilled out day- Lisa, Ryan, and I went for a walk to Centennial Park and enjoyed the fresh air. Ryan left us when we got to the park, but Lisa and I walked through it and saw some interesting mosaics around the site of the recreated wetlands in the park. They cannot truly be described, so I will have to go back and take some pictures and post them up here. Then we just followed a street in the general direction of back home and found our way back. We (all 3 of us) then grabbed a box of wine (leftover from our housewarming party several weeks earlier) and took the bus to Taylor Square from which we walked to Christina’s apartment. We got there slightly after the pizza had arrived, but luckily a few slices were saved for us. Also there were Simon, Peter, Cindy, Dylan, and Kendra. We sat there for a while drinking wine and eating chocolate Easter eggs. Then we progressed into drinking games that ended with a number of rounds of ‘Never have I ever’ (after an unsuccessful game of ‘Blow the cards off the bottle’).
Then, sufficiently inebriated, we took off on the Fountain Tour of Sydney, complete with brochure, designed by Simon. The first fountain had us walking to Kings Cross where we splashed to our hearts content in the El Alamein Water Fountain. We got nice and wet and had to deal with lots of questioning stares as the area was still quite crowded at that time. After leaving there was a bit of a worry as Ryan thought he lost his wallet in the fountain somewhere, and a search turned up empty. It was found later that evening, back in Christina’s place. Next up was supposed to be the fountain in Hyde Park, but being slightly drunk, the leaders of our little group decided that the reflecting pool was what we were looking for (and we ended up missing the Archibald Fountain entirely). Once again we had a lost item, although this time it was Simon’s cell phone and it was for real. A further search the next day proved fruitless, and the phone was switched off, so calling it didn’t help. Also, just as we got out of the fountain a security guard car pulled up and started eyeing us suspiciously, and didn’t leave till we had started our walk towards the next fountain. Although it was supposed to be 4th, a decision was made to skip number 3 at that juncture, as it would have resulted in an extra hours walk. So the new number three was the Tank Street Fountain in Herald Square in Circular Quay. (And amazingly enough almost no one knows the real name of this fountain as searches for a decent picture in daylight turned up a total of 5 hits. This fountain looked a little sketchy as the water level was somewhat low and there were rusty looking bits in it, but it didn’t stop most of us from climbing in. Once the third one had been conquered we were cold and tired, and hesitant about moving on. As we walked towards the Opera House, a bus came by, and it was the bus some of our group needed to get home, so a few departed leaving me, Lisa, Ryan, Dylan, Christina and Simon. We all scampered over to the Opera House Fountain (finally a picture of my own that is decent and shows the place in the light). Lisa and Christina ran ahead and dove right in followed by Dylan who clambered to the top and proclaimed himself king of the fountain. A few minutes of splashing, a few pictures and we were ready to go. We went back to the bus stops, and Lisa and I went to our stop while the others decided they were going to complete the 5 fountain tour. So Lisa and I went home (cause we had to get up at 7 the next morning and it was almost 3:30 at this point) and they went on and found the 5th fountain after a long walk. We got home, got a very short nap and got up to the next part of the vacation adventure… Dooralong. More coming soon.
Ok, so here’s the part where I write about what I did on my vacation in lots of detail and so that I don’t end up spending way too many minutes on the phone to people halfway across the world. Not that I don’t want to talk, just that telling everyone about the entire vacation would likely take more minutes than I have on my phonecard. Due to the length I think I will be posting each separate adventure as its own post/story, and since they will take a bit of time to write out in full they will be posted over the course of the next couple of days.
Ok, the slowness was due to the commenting system I'd set up. So I'll have to see where in the code it was holding itself up and see what I can do to fix that. So the new ones are down once again and I still have the old ones up. Isn't this fun. Also, are people seeing the little 18x18 pixel blue thing on the bottom that you can click on to get stats? You should now, but maybe you couldn't yesterday- at least I couldn't, and it wasn't counting me towards the stats, but maybe it was the combination of the comment code and the stat code. We'll see.
Saturday, April 17, 2004
Well, it seems to be working ok, but does the site seem slow to anyone else? Bear with the double comments for now, but try out both- the one on the left is the old hosted ones, and the one on the right is held locally by me. It seems to be working, but I'm not sure if it is the comments of the counter that is slowing everything down.
Friday, April 16, 2004
Comments are in the process of changing (hopefully). The place I was using to host them decided to start charging for it (starting in a month or 2), and so I'll probably switch over to one that Janice recommended soon. I'm gonna try running them on my own just to see if I can figure it out, and it would be nice to have them all stored on my own webspace, and not someone elses.
Q and A
Does the opening to Billy Joel's 'Downeaster Alexa' sound like the opening to Travis's 'Side' to anyone else? I know they aren't exactly alike, but hearing one made me think of the other.
Thursday, April 15, 2004
Oh, and more pictures on the left, along with captions on the old ones.
I feel like I don't think enough. I don't mean that in an intellectual way, but rather in a life/worldview sense. Yes, I can study some subject and learn enough to pass a test, but I don't spend the same amount of time contemplating the world that I used to. There are so many easy distractions that allow the passing of time, but each comes with a semblance of dissociation with the world. You can get trapped in this little bubble and hours later you snap out of it and wonder what just happened to those precious moments in your life that were just lost forever. In reality you get nothing out of these fragments other than a vague sense of loss and an idea that you could be doing something better with your life. Maybe spending some time each day writing and forcing myself to think about something real would be a way to get in touch with the world, and maybe it might even help me learn something about myself. Deep introspection has not always been my strong point, and it probably would be a good thing to truly understand myself before I can hope to think about understanding someone else. I'm not quite sure if writing is definitely the best solution, as I could always pull a Danny and start 'researching' everything I ever wanted to know about cows, and I have done something similar previously, but its always ended up petering out after a couple days cause I just wasn't feeling it. Perhaps combining it with something I need to do, such as research for schoolwork might be a good compromise between doing something interesting to me, and something important for progressing in life professionally. And maybe in addition just writing to people would be a good thing. I've definitely been somewhat remiss in keeping in contact with certain people, and its not something I'm particularly happy about, so it should be something else for me to work on. Hopefully actually writing this down, and letting the world see that I recognize my own faults will help me become a better person in the end. I know that I often lack an emotional edge in my writing, and when it does come across it is often skewed towards the positive. Like most people I don't like revealing my own faults, and prefer to keep my own confidence when it comes to negative aspects of myself, again something that isn't necessarily the healthiest thing to do. So I guess in the end what I want to know is what everyone out there thinks I need to work on as a person. Be cruel, be harsh, but above all be honest. This isn't a cry for help so much as a chance for me to ask the world what they honestly think of me, and to give me a chance to find out and digest this information in a way that I am able to deal with. I'm not always the best confrontationally, so having written responses will allow me to read, understand, and really process what people are saying without having to deal directly in the moment with what everyone says. I know this normally isn't how these things are done, in a public forum, and I know some of you may feel like it will be hurtful, and maybe you don't want someone else to see you being critical of me- if so than post anonymously and then if you want to, let me know via email that it was you. Or if you must, just email me a response to this. I can't be a better person to the world and myself if the world doesn't let me know how I'm doing every once in a while. I know this has rambled slightly and changed from the original goal of this post, but thats how my thoughts work.
Friday, April 09, 2004
Last night was a whirlwind tour of the fountains of Sydney. Starting off in Kings Cross, we moved to from there to Hyde Park, followed by Circular Quay and lastly, the Opera House. At each of these places there is a fountain. At each fountain 8 of us removed our shoes and splashed joyfully for a few minutes, took a few pictures, and moved on. That was last night in a nutshell. Lisa, myself, Sam and his siblings are on are way off to Dooralong today, just for tonight and tomorrow. Should be a fun two days and I'm glad to be getting away from campus. During the break next week I'll probably head up to the Blue Mountains with a small van of 8. And we're off to places again...
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Picture pages, Picture pages, Open up your picture pages
There is now a small edition to the left hand side panel. Under places is now pictures, where all future series will be placed (although I'll try to make an announcement on here as well). For now, every can go take a look at random Sydney shots.
Monday, April 05, 2004
Well it looks like this year will be one without a seder for me. I tried to find one to attend for tonight, but was unable to find one that was a combination of close, cheap and the type of seder I would want to be at. Another part of the problem is that I didn't really start looking until Sunday, and that made my options few to begin with. In the end I didn't want to end up spending 50 dollars on an event that would have been me with a group of older men, simply reading from the Haggadah's. Family seder's are wonderful because, besides having the entire family around with you, its customized to be what you make it out to be. So if you aren't into everyone reading pages of Hebrew that don't mean anything directly to you, then you don't have to. You can read in English and just sing the songs, or even skip a few of the lesser importance pages and only sing the first 9 verses of Dayenu instead of dragging it on for hours at a time. And of course the meal is always better when you've made the matzah balls yourself. Although I'm definitely used to not being at home for this time of year (I was at school for them all but one of the past four years), its always sad to miss a family event, especially when there is a toddler around who is growing up so fast and is great at entertaining.
Sunday, April 04, 2004
Land of the Lost
I've had a ring with my initials 'ASL' on it since I was 14. (No jokes about what that sounds like if you say it fast. I always claim its so I can leave quite an impression on someone). Anyway, as happens to little things that are used daily, its gotten misplaced occasionally. Now as a general rule I don't lose things, cause everything has its place in my room for me, and even if I forget said place, anything can usually be found within a matter of minutes. In one instance however, it was not a case of forgetting where I had put the ring, but rather of it literally just dissapear-ring (ba dum ching). One morning during my junior year at Northwestern I was getting dressed in a hurry for class, which was supposed to start all too soon. As I threw on my shirt and grabbed my accessories (watch, ring, wallet, palm). I put on my ring, and while I was reaching around to put my wallet in my pocket, I felt my ring drop off, and it sounded like it hit something and then I heard nothing. I figured it had hit my desk and bounced onto the rug, so I bent down to have a look. 5 minutes of ever increasing in franticity searching I concluded that it had not dropped onto the rug, or that if it had, it had instantly fallen through a tiny hole in the rug never to be seen again (and giving the shodiness of the floors in that place, it could have happened that way). I started going through the desk, and looking in drawers it never could have fallen into unless gravity worked differently in some sections of my room. After a few more minutes of fruitless searching I had to give up and get to class, so I patted myself down in an effort to make sure it hadn't gotten caught somewhere like in a pocket or in an upturned corner or in my shoe or something. After finding nothing I proceeded to my class, somewhat distraught, but made it through the day alright. I got back home and recruited my flatmates, Pi and Nishant, as well as the guys from across the hall. Once again we went over the room with a fine tooth comb and still found nothing. About an hour later when I had basically given up searching Nish came back in and wanted to try patting me down and checking in all my pockets again just to make sure I hadn't missed it there when I went looking. Then, just as he was about to give up as well, he felt something. I was wearing carpenter jeans at that time, and he thought he felt a little bump inside one of those pockets on the leg where you keep a screwdriver or nails or something similar. I had previously felt into it, but hadn't found anything and figured I would have felt the ring if it was in a pocket after patting it down. However, this pocket had an inner pocket, and somehow the ring had worked its way in there and it had been missed by me when I checked my pockets, and by everyone else when they had checked for me. Somehow Nish managed to feel it in just the right spot to notice it. So I got the ring back and it was a happy ending to a day filled with tension, but in the end it was only just a ring, and I would have gotten over it even though it would have been dissapointing. Janice however, almost lost her engagement ring, something which probably would have been a lot worse than me losing mine. I'm glad we both found our respective rings though. Losing a possesion that is part of you isn't easy, even if it is only a thing.
Thursday, April 01, 2004
Pictures, yay! I'll need to create a new navigation system to include pictures- meaning my goal will to be to have a picture page where each set has one randomly selected picture chosed to be a representation of the entire set and it will change dynamically each time you come and visit. So once thats in place I'll let you know- but till then you can see the Taronga Zoo and fuzzy animals with me here.