July 31st, 2007

Believe it or not ‘stralia isn’t just blue skies, hot weather and beaches. Some parts (very few parts) get snow and inland from Sydney just past Canberra is Mount Kosciuszko the highest mountain on the Australian mainland. It is a mere 6 hour drive from Sydney so Esther, Rach, Amy, Gemma, Mike, Matt, Chris and myself headed down for a long weekend of ski.

Amy and I both decided to learn how to snow board instead of ski, which I have only tried once in 1995 in Austria for a week.

Friday Flats Learners Slope

It was good fun learning how to snowboard although most of the time was spent falling over, we had a lesson on both days and by the end of the second lesson we had learnt all the basics to snow board down a mountain.

Here is Amy on a lesson practicing ‘toe side’ which was pretty difficult as you go down the mountain backwards but it necessary for the S style line that you have to take.

Amy in green jacket ‘toe-side’

Some of my old work friends were also on the slopes learning to snow board at the same time, it was good to see Sausage Dog, Corinne and Naomi all learning on the same weekend as us, a small world!

Après-ski was a lot of fun, we stayed at a pet friendly eco-alpine bed and breakfast called Bimblegumbie, which had dogs running around and lots of very interesting things that Prudence the owner had collected.

Bimblegumbie Sign

The first night Rach had booked dinner at the Crackenback Cottage Restaurant which was absolutely delicious, we had the full courses and really enjoyed ourselves –

The gang at the Crackenback Cottage Restaurant

After a couple of drinks we went into the Crackenback Maze, which is one of the largest Mazes in the Southern Hemisphere. In the dark and after a few drinks it was very difficult to find the way out, almost to the point of thinking we would never get out. luckily Mike used the ‘always turn left’ technique to find his way out, so at least we knew it was possible for the rest of us!

Stuck in the Crackenback Maze!

The second night dinner was cooked at Bimblegumbie by Gemma and Chris where they made some great food. My job was to break the bread into small pieces, Mike asked me to try and re-create Stonehenge with bread bits and align it correct with the light in the next room which looked like the sun to try and re-create some kind of summer solstice pilgrimage for neo-druids –

Stonehenge Ciabatta Recreation Photography

Michael even went to the extend of fashioning a piece of cucumber into a druid using a pen; I am fairly sure Michael has a semisynthetic psychedelic drug addiction.

After dinner Chris borrowed Prudence’s guitar and Michael got his drums out for an acoustic performance of some songs and even some Bhanglassi numbers.

On the last day of snowboarding (and some very tired arms) we headed back to Sydney, with a quick stop off for dinner in Canberra. Near the Ski resort is the town of Jindabyne, which has some amazing geographic features –

Jindabyne from Alpine Way

The motion picture epic Jindabyne is an award winning film that is set in the town, where you get to see a lot of the amazing scenery it has to offer.

An excellent ski trip (aching now) thanks for organising it Rach.

July 24th, 2007

Last night I had a surprise (well Jon coming was a surprise) Birthday dinner at a Himalayan restaurant in the Crows Nest.

Birthday Dinner Himalayan Style

Amy got me a telescope for my birthday it is brilliant, I used the excellent open source application Stellarium last night to find out the names and location of the stars which we can see from the balcony, when we got back from dinner the moon was just about visible and so I targetted it on that. Using the 25x lens I got this cool shot using our little digital camera –

Moon from the Balcony

We are definetly going to have to make a trip up to Myall Lakes area as the stars from there are so much clearer. A great birthday!

July 22nd, 2007

Amy and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary high in the sky at Level Forty-One restaurant in Sydney, Amy had not been nor had dégustation, I had visited with my parents before but was well worth the return trip. We had a dégustation menu of six courses which took three and a half hours to eat!

Amy and I enjoying dégustation

The views are great from the the restaurant it feels like you are in a plane. After out 6 courses we were well and truely stuff and headed back to home to sleep it off!

Next weekend we are going skiing (yes ‘stralia isn’t just beaches) and hopefully my Mum won’t think the blog is boring anymore when we report from Thredbo!

July 17th, 2007

BhangLassi played an awesome set at the Old Fitzroy last Sunday as part of their LassiAcoustica set.

BhangLassi at the Fitzroy, Woolloomooloo

Photo thanks to Marcus. Looking forward to their next gig, headling a night at the Hopetoun August 2nd.

July 15th, 2007

ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS: THE WAY OF THE TOSSER follows gary brewer, a die hard rps professional, along with his girlfriend holly brewer, (no relation) and best friend trevor morehouse as gary quests to reign supreme at the 2006 rps world championships! as gary trains to be the best we learn that being a true tosser involves a lot more than just tossin’.

July 15th, 2007

Nancy and Marcus came over for dinner and to celebrate my birthday ( a few days early as they are busy around the time ).

They got me a Siamese Fighting Fish named Marcey (a mashup of the names Marcus and Nancy).

Marcey the Siamese Fighting Fish

I am slightly concerned with Marcey’s eating patterns. It has not eaten anything since they gave it to us. Which is a bit weird.

They also brought round this marvellous cake –

Brilliant Cake

Here it is being brought out with candles on –

With Candles

A very nice early Birthday celebration night!

July 15th, 2007

I am a bit of a hardcore Smashing Pumpkin / Billy Corgan fan. I run BillyCorgan.Info which is a blog about stuff Billy Corgan is up to which gets a bit of traffic. My Billy and Pumpkin obsession dipped a bit when they split up in 2000, but in 2003 I went to Amsterdam in Holland to see Zwan, a side project with Billy as front man, and shook hands him at the end of the gig, which was brilliant.

So after a 7 year hiatus Billy and Jimmy are back with a new album – Zeitgiest.

Smashing Pumpkins – Zeitgiest

Currently I like about 60% of the album, with Bleed the Orchid being my favourite track.

This is the 400th post on G2007 since I started it!

July 10th, 2007

Update: The Manly Daily, Manly’s finest investigative journalism newspaper, reported that a Fairlight unit was engulfed in flames after a resident left clothes to dry over a heater while she was out. A women who lived directly opposite called the fire bridge as smoke was pouring into her flat, in the commotion, Bubbles, her black and white silky terrier escaped. So everyone in the Manly area please keep your eyes open for Bubbles.

I’ll be honest, not that much happens during the day when you are at home. However, today was a little bit different. Just before lunch I started to smell plastic burning, I looked out of the window to see the building opposite was billowing smoke out of the side –

Fire Engine on its way in the background

I can only imagine it was a “slow emergency day” for the Fire services as within 10 minutes there was six fire engines from as far out as Crows Nest. There were also three police cars and one ambulance.

The situation became so intensely dangerous that, at one certain stage of the unfolding events, this police officer blocked off access to the one way street with these four traffic cones. This was highly necessary.

Cones layed down as an extra precaution

Thankfully no one was hurt (to my best knowledge) and within one hour the emergency was over, names had been taken down and a full enquiry will no doubt be under way.

Fire Under Control – Manly Safe Once Again
July 8th, 2007
The reason for Live Earth and the ideas behind Earth Day are one and the same, to raise awareness of conservation. There are many Earth Day activities you can do by yourself to help the Earth such as picking up litter or planting trees. The Earth Day celebration has it’s roots in the 1840’s but it wasn’t until the 1970’s when it became very popular.

July 7th 2007 was ‘Live Earth‘ day, a slightly controversial global event to raise awareness for climate change.

It was a great day good weather although a bit cold. Amy and I got our seats a bit late and were slightly side on to the action, but it didn’t spoil the music, we heard some great bands including Missy Higgins, The John Butler Trio, Wolfmother, Jack Johnson and Crowded House. The London concert appeared to have the best line up (Beastie Boys, Madonna, Foo Fighters, Chilli Peppers, Genesis) although Australia line up was definetly second best (would have easily been the best if Smashing Pumpkins played here rather than NYC!).

Amy outside the Aussie Stadium

We got to our seats and other people were sitting in them, so with a bit of pointing at the ground row letter, pointing at seat numbers and then pointing at the combination of seat number and row on our tickets we got our seats.

Paul Kelly at Live Earth

As the evening went on and the queues for toilets and drinks got longer and longer we waited for Jack Johnson to come on, he played some of his classics and was very nervous!

Jack Johnson on Stage

A great day which hopefully raised awareness for climate change and a much better July 7th than this one. Off to buy some energy saving light bulbs now.

July 7th, 2007

Time to go shopping in America, the exchange rate between Australian Dollar and US Dollar is almost 1:1 would be great if the AUD became more valuable than USD, I think we’d go on a spending spree!

USD vs. AUD 2007