radar love

One of my small pleasures for the last while has been looking at the radar maps of the weather. It’s a weather report but you can make up your own mind about what will happen.

And this summer has been way more stormy than last so there’s been plenty more exciting colours like this.

 

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I meant to mention a week or so back we went to an Ethiopian restaurant in Flemington. The food itself was kind of interesting. We had a sampler of several dishes – some lentil based things as well as a bit of goat, chicken, fish and lamb (which I steered clear of on the account of my suspected allergy to it). The real surprise was that there was no cutlery involved. I’ve never eaten that kind of stuff with my fingers before — or at least not since I was 2 or 3yo. It was served on a spongy kind of bread which you can kind of grab and wrap the stuff in but it’s only useful to a point, then you have to just dig in a get dirty. The tactile experience was kind of interesting but I can’t help but think that using fork, knife, spoon is more logical than fingers.

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Speaking of logic. RIP Leonard Nimoy. As an emotionally turbulent teenager I idolised Spock’s cool, detached way of dealing with the mysteries and troubles of the universe. Sure, it doesn’t work in reality and even in the TV show he did occasionally flip out and try to kill his captain but everyone needs something to aim for, especially as a youngster.

 

16000758213_7be98ed3a0After cruising through some of the farmish parts of rural victoria and then down through parts of the otways I have to say I lament the fact that the Great Ocean Road and Otway hinterland have become weekend playground for melbourne yuppies and international tourists who accept being fleeced. Everything is priced ridiculously (I paid $7 for a pie!) and there’s too much useless new-agey stuff. The Otway Black Snail, pictured right, is neither overpriced or useless. In fact I wish I could bring home a team of them to live in my back yard and eat the regular, plant-eating snails. If this was america there would already have been a movie made about giant flesh-eating snails.

 

South Grampians and south of there

We went for a couple of days driving out west as far as the southern edge of the Grampian mountain range but not actually into them. Stayed in Dunkeld for the night.

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For years I’ve been using Flickr to store all my fotos and then embedding them on here. It was necessary on the old hosting provider because I wanted to keep my storage to a minimum. But the new host has ‘unlimited’ storage and more to the point, flickr has been steadily going down hill. The javascript rubbish they put over the top of embedded images has spurred me on to give the wordpress media function another shot.

 

But back to the travels. A two thumbs up to Southern Grampians Cottages in Dunkeld. We stayed there one night and it was really nice.

I’d forgotten how small small towns could be. I mean, the name is on the map and we drive there and indeed there is a sign saying you are there. There’s speed limits, a couple of houses, maybe a pub, no one around and that’s it. I found myself trying to get a feel for these places but it’s hard to do if you’re still going a 60kph and not stopping. But I started to wonder what constitutes a town and why does one small country town live on through changing economic circumstances while another seems to die.

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We passed through Derrinallum on Sunday and they happened to be having a market under the trees on the main strip. We stopped to have a look and ended up buying a bunch of stuff like honey, bikkies and a hand-knitted beany. (Prices in real country towns like this, as opposed to touristified towns, are very reasonable.) There was kids for the local P-12 holding a raffle to raise money for something and generally acting goofy. There was a woman singing old-timey songs and playing an amped up ukulele.

 

IMG_4177  Then on Monday mid-morning we passed through Lake Bolac and it looked dead as a doornail. Maybe it was the difference in day but the main thing seemed to be that there was no centre to the town. It’s split by the highway. The populations are about the same and Bolac has a P-12 school too, not to mention a tourist info centre and a lake. But it looked a whole lot less appealing.

 

And then on a whole other level is Timboon, where I lived as a small boy. They don’t even need you to come and visit as a tourist. Just buy their accordingly-priced boutique cheese, icecream, honey, alcohol and even bread. In Dunkeld the little grocery store was selling bread for the Timboon bakery. I used to walk past that bakery on my way home from school and all I can remember it making was very _run of the mill_ white bread so something’s changed there.

IMG_4179Cheeseworld in Allensford gets a lot more visibility in the tourist literature than it deserves. It’s not a terrible place — it’s an okay place. It’s a local-level okay kind of place to eat but the best thing is the giftshop because of how it brings together all kinds of local/Victorian produce for the coachloads of Chinese tourists to buy.

 

I hadn’t realised how how active the sprintcar scene in country Vic was either. They really should just be called dirt buggies. We passed by at least 4 speedways (i.e. dirt tracks) in very rural areas. It’s a shame this kind of stuff isn’t on TV. It’d be much more amusing and genuine than a series like V8 supercar.

 

cats, witches and wolves

Finally got around to revisiting Fairy Park in Anakie. As a kid my family went there many times  although I can only remember two  — one when it was sunny and the other cloudy. Yesterday was sunny but I think I prefer it better when it’s cloudy there. More Germanic feeling.

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We got there a few minutes after 10am, when it opens, and there was _still_ people ahead of us. It turned out to be quite busy a couple of hours after that. People from all over: international tourists, other parts of the state and locals.

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The playground had been totally remodelled but apart from that it hadn’t changed much since the early ’80s. All the displays were the same and in one case had lost function (Jack no longer climbs the beanstalk). I guess the hazard insurance for having little kids crawling all over the joint must be high but apart from that the owners must be raking the cash in for the part of the year that it’s open and hibernating nicely during the part that it’s not.

What was really nice to see was all these northern hemisphere conifers that have grown over the years.

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When in Rome

Went to the tennis yesterday. Even though it’s been two years since leaving korea I can still appreciate the convenience of having world class events like the Aus. Open happening right on our doorstep. We only had ground passes, so no entry to the two really big-name stadiums but that was plenty fine. And mum gave us the tickets because she couldn’t use them. Tennis (compared to something like motor racing) is really worth seeing in person compared to on TV.  It’s pretty cool being that close to the players and seeing the game from different angles.

Having said that, the first thing we saw was in ‘hisense’ arena – a women’s match with players I wasn’t familiar with and we ended up sitting behind and to the right of the main TV cameras so all the fotos from that match look as if I’d photographed the TV at home.

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I wish we’d been better prepared for the sun. It wasn’t an especially hot day but the sunshine is unrelenting even with sunblock on. I sat out at a smaller court watching Sam Groth play doubles but an hour was about all I could take.

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I didn’t know there was a juniors section to the tournament but they were out on the back courts and all hitting it just as hard as the pros. Here’s Japan’s Chihiro Muramatsu carving up against a GBR girl. If she becomes super-famous remember you heard that name first here at Sunny Breaks.

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My only criticism of the tournament organisation is the ridiculous prices of food and drink within the venue. People pay a lot of money to get into these kind of events, so why not show them a little respect by providing some decent, reasonably priced food? If we’d known we’d have made sandwiches. As it was we had some wedges and a crappy ‘pizza’ plus a couple of drinks for 45bucks. It was Je paying. If it was me I’d probably have left early. I watched a family of four come into the place we were at, they sat down, looked at the menus for a few minutes then left.

Korean food in Melbourne

Went to a few Korean restaurants in Melbourne recently. It’s fairly hard to come by authentic dishes. Partly because of the embarrassment of riches we have here in Australia when it comes to ingredients. For example, beef is used sparingly in Korea (if it’s on the menu at all) but here it’s cheap so the temptation for restauratuers is to use more but that completely changes the food.

Presentation is also different.

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This place in Richmond is a good example of a kind of korean food but definitely one for a mild australian taste. Also the stools you sit on here were ridiculously uncomfortable. It really is an indicator that these leeches we call real estate agents rule the land when you’ve got a city as sprawled as Melbourne is, yet here I sat is a busy (and therefore presumably successful) restaurant that was tiny and elbow-to-elbow.

In contrast, we went to another place in Clayton called Kang na roo which I am guessing is play on words. This was just like what I’d get in Korea at an everyday restaurant, right down to the plastic bowls and tupperware-style bottle of water. The only difference was the price, in that it’s a good deal more expensive here but then that’s to be expected. Two thumbs up!

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:GROAN:

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As if I didn’t already have enough reasons to dislike real estate agents.