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Dish Cafe in Geelong

I just wanted to give a quick but big thumbs up to Dish in the middle of old Geelong town. Personally, I find very few places that I really like to go back to. Most places I go to are over-priced with average food or have reasonable prices but nasty food. The whole Waterfront area of Geelong is a tourist-trap full of terrible eateries these days.

And I can remember back to the late 90s/early 00s, and even earlier when the area around little Malop st, McLarty place, James street was full of interesting shops. All of the walk-by shopper traffic was sucked away by the Westfield monstrosity. Plus I bet rent prices went way higher than was affordable for most shop-owners.

So anyway it’s great to see a new (relatively new?) cafe in that area.

They make almost all of the stuff they have for sale. It’s good quality and very good prices. Dave, the chef, is a really friendly bloke too.  I guess another thing I like too is that when we go in there on a Saturday lunchtime it’s fairly quiet. Good for me, not so good for the business. Although I’d like to think they are much busier on weekdays with the office crowds.

HipstaPrint

, , , — YS @ 12:10 pm, August 3, 2014

The Four Of Us Are Dying

I haven’t been watching much old TV but one thing I have been going through from its very start is the original Twilight Zone TV series. It’s pretty damn impressive. The first season was waaaay back in 1959 and a lot of the story lines still stack up well. It’s far back enough that almost none of the actors in it cross over into other tv shows from the mid to late ‘60s that I’ve seen. The only exception so far was the episode title People Are Alike All Over that has an actress who later went on to also appear in the pilot for the original series or Star Trek. Funnily enough the pilot leaned heavily on the storyline of the Twilight Zone ep.

There’s been several episodes dealing with the Cold War that I would’ve thought would be too touchy to talk about then plus a bunch of plum science-fiction speculative ideas that were really impressive. The fifties really were a highpoint for SF in book form so it must’ve rolled on into other media too.

whatyouneed

Maybe it’s partly the silver-screen effect but the women seemed really beautiful then too. Interesting hairstyles or whatever. I dunno. The above image was schlepped from the TZ wikia site and is from the episode titled ‘What You Need’. I could’ve hunted it down myself but that would mean turning on the other computer.

The title of this here blog post is actually the name of one of the episodes which was also used by the band Nine Inch Nails as a song title 48 years later. To me that’s a great example of how edgy the Twilight Zone was for a TV show. And as such it was stuffed away in the Friday night 10 to 10:30pm timeslot. Wouldn’t want anyone actually seeing it now would we?

That particular episode contained lashings of noir/Hitchcock style lop-sided frame shots and as it happens is available to view on yootoob.

In some ways a good comparison is the X-Files except the Twilight Zone probably had a lot less budget and crammed all its goodness into half an hour. In fact it seems like Rod Serling did a lot of the sourcing, adapting and writing for the first season himself. So the next time I hear The Simpsons or something parodying his quirky narration style I’ll have a better appreciation for how ahead of its time the Twilight Zone was.

&&&

In hindsight The Black Keys don’t need me promoting their new album. Mainstream media seems to be doing a fine job of that thankyou. After a few listens I’m kind of underwhelmed by it too. I should qualify that by saying that I didn’t really like their album before that either. I mean, it was okay but not as good as their early stuff. I know there’s only so many places you can go when you just got a guitar and drums, and that was always the thing about the earlier albums; as good as they were, I could only listen to an album and a half before the structures were all too samey. I was listening to the Turn Blue album while washing the dishes and in that dumb way that iTunes does, it started playing the next thing straight after. The next thing was the El Camino album and I tell ya I didn’t know it. ie there’s no difference in the sound of the two albums.

With Turn Blue, some of the production aspects (that this chap danger mouse contributed) sound tacked on. Also as a wannabee bass player the bass sound they used on several tracks sounds really unenthusiastic. And lyrically it’s heavily influenced by Dan’s relationship break-up with some famous woman. Jilted/love songs will always be popular but a little hard for me to relate to in this part of my life.

But I’ll be constructive. So what could have they done? Five or whatever albums of good, raw guitar & drums -> it’s obvious that they had to broaden their sound somehow. I think I would’ve tried some sort of non crowd-pleasing, long concept album. They’ve earned enough money/fame to do something really nutty so why not go for it? For posterity’s sake I’ll include this pic of Dan _Uber_gene unintentionally (0((()(??????)())))) getting his Hitler on. This could’ve been the look that tipped them in a whole new musical direction.

Dan UBERbach

Last night on Earth

This is the name of a new album by Lee Ronaldo and the Dust. It should probably be subtitled #firstworldproblems. It’s mostly based on Lee’s experiences of being in NYC during _super_storm Sandy. I’m sure a lot of people had their lives or lifestyles messed up by Sandy but I guess the point I’m trying to make is that it’s interesting to compare the effects that natural disasters have on different parts of the world. Rich places: tens of billions of dollars worth of damage and a few people dead, poor places: tens of thousands of people dead and a few hundred thousand dollars worth of damage.

Most of the lyrics are about the weather and being stuck inside, so I can dig that. I actually quite like the album. Enough to have bought it. I only found out about it through that way that ‘friend of a friend’ way that twitter works. I haven’t kept tabs on Sonic Youth since Washing Machine and I was pretty disappointed to hear that Kim and Thurston broke up under messy circumstances and in a way that makes it seem fairly unlikely that Sonic Youth will ever get back together. And so through twitter I saw a life performance vid of Kim’s solo project body/head. I don’t know if they’re stoners – maybe that’s what summer in Germany does to you. And Thurston’s off having an affair—so when I listened to Last Night on Eart I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Lee has basically inherited the Sonic Youth sound. I don’t know what went on with their last however many albums but there was really only one way to go and that was mellower. That’s how this album is and of course it didn’t hurt that Lee also inherited SY’s drummer, Steve Shelley. Kind of like after the Beatles broke up and Ringo ended up living in the guest house at John’s big-arse mansion. And there’s two other guys in there I don’t know who they are.

There are times when the lyrics or singing sound a tad lame, and this is where there is no Thurston or Kim but Ronaldo’s always been a great guitarist and there’s some characteristically sweet chord progressions in there. You can stream the album here

, , , , — YS @ 9:29 am, December 3, 2013

Dick Smith 38.5″ (98cm) Full HD LED LCD TV: review

This may seem boring but I just wanted to do a quick review of this thing. I already did one on the dick website but I probably should’ve waited until I had a much fuller understanding of it before posting there since once you do one review of a thing you can’t update it or do another.

I was kind of shocked and annoyed to come from one of the electronic gadget nexuses, south korea, to here and find that TVs are cheaper here. We actually brought our old (only 1 year old) TV with us but I was lazy and assumed it wouldn’t work here. So I went and got this Dick TV for 350 bucks, which seemed pretty damn cheap. And it’s ok I guess. The only immediately noticeable downside was that the remote control is pretty rubbish. It has to be pointed right at the TV to work and the lag between when you press a button and when it actually does anything is …. large. It has a PVR (personal Video Recorder) built in but let me tell you—it’s absolute rubbish. I think I had a less that 505 success rate with it properly recording what I wanted. And the thing is, you don’t bother recording something unless you actually want to watch it, so when you go to check it and see that it didn’t work—then that’s pretty damn disappointing.

I eventually got around to plugging in the korean (brand named, “Square”) TV and found that the analog channels setting worked. We took a punt on it and got a cheap ($55) digital set top box – and presto – the old TV works. And now that I see them closer together, I can see that the Dick TV’s picture is not all that great.

The set top box, from a company named Bush (It’s Sydney or the Bush, Charlie Brown) is pretty good. On occassion the signal gets really glitchy, and that didn’t happen with the Dick TV, so maybe it’s the longer connection cables – I don’t know, but the channels change faster and the PVR built into it works.

I don’t watch that much TV. The kind of programming I find to contain the least amount of idiocy is sport, including football. I never thought I’d be watching footy regularly but it helps when your team is winning regularly, and is on at a convenient time, like Saturday night. Because they only have commercials after goals it works out that there’s less ad breaks than other TV and the ads between quarters can be avoided entirely. A week and a half ago I watched a footy game on Saturday night then the German F1 Grand Prix the next night, and as much as I like motor racing, I have to say that the footy game was much more exciting.

Anyway, in conclusion to myself, while I don’t watch that much TV, that that I do watch I like to enjoy properly so spending a bit extra on getting a decent telly is one of those decisions that pays off in the end.

, , , , , , , — YS @ 9:38 am, July 16, 2013

Tomorrow’s Harvest: Boards Of Canada

Tomorrow's Harvest

After six or seven years BOC finally released their next full-length album. It’s been a long wait. From memory, the last one, The Campfire Headphase, was one of the first things I purchased over the internet with my (then) newly-minted credit card (really just a debit card but whatever).

Bleep.com, a digital music store, sent me the link to my purchased download last Friday night—much earlier than I was expecting! And so, each day for the last week I’ve been having a listen to the album to get a feel for it. BOC’s stuff is anti-pop. Pop and successful TV jingles succeed because you can hear them once and they dig into the memory. The melodies and chord progressions in Boards of Canada’s music are much subtler and take time to come out. But this means they also have a much greater longevity and relistenability.

Tomorrow’s Harvest I would say is more of the same, in that the sound of it is similar to their stuff in the past. The last most recent, Campfire Headphase, had a fair bit of guitar used in looping ways which made it a bit different but it was still clearly BOC. “More of the same” isn’t a negative judgment at all, because for the last 6 years fans everywhere have been waiting for more of the same. It’s because of this that they become my number 1 favourite musical performer. Amon Tobin used to be it but then he went off in ambient, unmelodic directions.

This new album, if anything reminds me a bit of their 2002 album, Geogaddi because of the ‘bad trip’ overtones. BOC’s music is often generalised as psychedelic trip music but then sometimes it’s not all happy sounding.

And I think that’s what’s happening with Tomorrow’s Harvest. My take is that it’s a nuclear apocalypse concept album. The artwork: sunrise in San Francisco, but then it looks a bit like an A-bomb just about to go mushroom too. Then there’s the titles of some of the tracks: Reach For The Dead, Cold Earth, Sick Times, Collapse, New Seeds, Come To Dust. New Seeds is interesting because it’s one that really sounds like the title – it reminds me of science and robots planting things on Mars or something.

The music by itself is just music and doesn’t sound down particularly when compared to other BOC stuff, but there’s no samples of kids’ voices counting numbers or singing rhymes. There’s no samples of the original Boards of Canada Public Service Announcements—or if there are they’re so distorted that I can’t tell what they’re saying yet.

From what I’ve read in the rare, odd interview they’ve done, they’re the kind of group that only releases 10% of what they produce, and it may well be possible that this music was made years and years ago. Anyway, I’m really liking the album and I just hope it’s not another 7 years til we hear from Michael and Marcus again.

sandisons

Ps. (minor congratz to bleep.com on having their shit together better than those idiots at topspin media.)

Pumex international movers: a mini review

I was going to write this ages ago and then I decided I wouldn’t since it’s just a company doing its job. I discovered the process of finding a company to ship all of your household goods from one country to another is not an easy one, so this post is more for people in the future (in korea primarily) who might find themselves in the same situation.

We found Pumex online. They sent a guy around to talk to us about it. He looked at what we wanted to ship and quoted us 1.5 mil KRW. We weren’t taking any furniture just a bunch of stuff like books, clothes, kitchenware, electronics equipment and eight guitars. It ended up being 36 boxes and the end price was 1.7mil—a bit higher than the quote. Other costs included insurance. We had to value the stuff ourselves and then pay something like 1 or 2% of the total amount insured. I think it was 2%, I can’t remember. But I know that we paid another 180k KRW for that. It seemed like a lot, but some of those guitars are worth a bit, and before the move I didn’t have much faith in everything getting to Australia unbroken. Afterall, everyone’s seen video and heard stories of neglectful mover, couriers and deliverers.

However, this was the area that Pumex really excelled. The guy they sent around on the moving day did a really good job at boxing everything up. He custom-made boxes for irregularly shaped items (eg. bass guitar, big telly), foam padding was applied liberally and the double-gauge corrugated cardboard was supa-solid. Nothing at all got broken on the way so in hindsight I guess I could’ve skimped a bit on the insurance, but then I guess insurance is always like that.

Pumex did say they were going to put the eight guitars into a wooden crate before going into the shipping container but I never saw it—it would’ve been hammered together at Busan and taken apart in Melbourne, that is, if they made one at all. Either way, all the guitar necks were fine. Each guitar was put into a separate custom-made cardboard box, then they were put all-together in one big cardboard box. At one stage J-e was standing on one of the empty cube-shaped boxes and it didn’t collapse, so that’s a good example of how rigid the cardboard was.

Another cost we had was Customs & quarantine clearance fee, which would be different for each country you wanted to ship to, but Australia’s (I’m guessing) is kind of high. That was about $150 AUD. To make sure our shipment wasn’t delayed and put through the special treatment at quarantine we were advised to clean the soles of our shoes and be detailed with any food we were sending. We did both, and they did open the shoe box to take a look but didn’t even bother with the food box.

All up it was about one month from when the boxes left us in Seoul to when they were delivered to us in Geelong west.

For us, or for me really, being 8 years in korea and being a collector/hoarder of things this kind of move was the best option. It was better than dealing with a-holes on craigslist, trying to sell things for a fraction of their worth. Sending boxes through the post office would’ve been a huge hassle too. Going with Pumex was kind of expensive but took a lot of the stress out of the task.

, , , , — YS @ 10:06 am, April 12, 2013

And now for the good stuff

It seems silly to go on holiday and only blog about the bad stuff. So here’s the good bits I haven’t mentioned yet.

IMG_1145
at Tropical Spice Gardens

Accommodation: In Kuala Lumpur we stayed at the Classic Inn for a total of 6 or 7 nights. I definitely recommend it. The staff really make an effort to see that you’re happy. I actually stayed here two years ago too, but then I was in a single room. There was a slight misunderstanding on the first night when we got put in a musty-smelling twin-room with no window (avoid room 105 if possible) but once I kicked up a bit of a fuss (brought on by a distinct lack of sleep) we moved to a better room = ask for room 107; it’s a twin-room but you’re with your with your sweety you can just push the beds together. It’s got a window, is relatively quiet in that it’s down a separate hallway, but the window opens onto the front common area, so if the Inn is full then there will be people out there talking til late. That’s to be expected I guess, after all, it’s not a monastery. Also, the wireless node is on the ground floor so you get the best reception if you’re in the ground floor rooms (the rooms on the top floor don’t get any waves, I believe).

They give a free breakfast of coffee, (very grateful for that) fresh fruit, toast and Malaysian-style pancakes or cold noodles. They do laundry for a very reasonable rate and they’ll store luggage (again price is very reasonable) if you want to head off to other parts of the country. All the other features are on their website. The best thing about the place, I would say, is it’s location. It’s easy to get off to all the touristy places and all of the domestic stuff you might need (supermarket, reliable eateries) is literally just across the road.

Penang To be honest we really wanted to go to Langkawi Island but it was all booked up. Penang is a bit more urbanised, or to be more exact, suburbanised. There’s a ring road around Georgetown, the capital, that reminded me a bit of Melbourne or Sydney. Things are spread out across the island which mean you’ll be catching a lot of buses or taking taxis or renting a car. We stayed at the Hydro hotel, which, on the whole, was quite good. The room we stayed in was big, had a partial sea view, balcony and was quiet. They have a pool too, which is good because apparently the nearest beach, batu Ferringhi (not Ferengi) was too polluted to swim in.

The best place we went to in Penang was Tropical Spice Garden which had a whole bunch of spice and herb plants spread around some lovely little pathways. If, like me, plants don’t rock your boat then you might be more interested in the … monkeys!

IMG_1113
I’d been waiting my whole damn life to see monkeys in the wild. Last week I did.

There’s a bunch of little (I don’t know what kind) monkeys up in the trees and if you’re lucky (like if you go in the morning) you’ll see one or two come down out of the canopy to a lower level to eat flowers. It wasn’t crowded at TSG and it’s a good way to get away from the main road and its traffic noise.

Also while there we had the best meal of the whole two weeks, at their connected restaurant, called Monkey Tree. It’s actually Thai food and due to the spice gardens, they use all their own fresh lemongrass etc.

IMG_1128
Mouthwatering!

tony fernandes ate my lunch

First thing I have to say is golly it’s nice to be on holiday. It’s been a long 12 months and when I do take the opportunity to visit somewhere different I usually end up having to go by myself, but this time my sweety is with me.

And we tried flying with Air Asia. It’s a different set up they’ve got going. It’s all online booking, and lots of detail to it. You chose where you want to sit, and there’s different areas—like a no kids ‘quiet zone’, “hot seats” ie. the first row of economy/coach class (you know if I owned my own airline, I would call economy class Riff-raff class) and instead of business/1st they have premium. We went for the No kids section and it worked well.

Meals are not standard either. You can order a meal when you’re doing the online thing, and it costs about 7 bucks. There’s a fair few different choices, and in theory it’s a good idea. In reality, the meals we got were really crappy.

Flight etc

This was my green curry. It was mostly rice. When I say crappy, I mean really cheaply put together, and small. Airline food has never been known as being good but this is a new bottom. J/e’s chicken rice was also regrettable.  All part of the learning-curve I guess. The idea is to eat up good before you get to the airport and then bring wholesome munchies for mid-flight—except their rule is you’re not allowed to bring food or beverages (everyone’s saying F&B these days) on board, but how are they going to know if you bend down, stick your head in your backpack and munch away like a horse on chaff. A horse bag.

There’s no screens anywhere, not even a standard one at the front of the section on the wall showing where the plane is in geographical space. I kind of missed that graphic. But really it’s a clever idea. Those back-of-the-headrest things are looking mighty dated now that everyone’s carrying their own tablet/phablet/smartphone around.

There’s no complimentary newspapers, blanket, pillow, there’s no free drinking water (gulp!), the only coffee available is cheap instant stuff – 5 ringgits please, and when we got to KL A.A. have their own budget terminal where the plane just pulls up on the tarmac and you deplane down a set of steps like when the Beatles invaded America. Air Asia’s gone budget in areas that other airline’s wouldn’t think of changing, and it’s working for them. Apparently it’s the fastest growing airline in an era when airlines are going belly-up left, right and centre.

, , , , , — YS @ 9:22 pm, February 2, 2013

rambles from a big chair

I almost never go to the cinema because I don’t like to deal with peasants and their mobile phones spoiling my immersive experience. I guess it’s the darkness of the room, the loud surround sound and the fact that I can’t pause it every half hour to go to the toilet. It’s more like taking a bus in that I have to plan to go to the toilet before hand and hope that I don’t feel the need during the film because it’s annoying knowing that it’s continuing back in there and I’m missing it while I’m doing my thing.

And then when it finishes I’m ejected from a womb-like setting into the horrible bright world—where I bump off walls, am grumpy and cannot communicate for at least 20 minutes.

But J-e found a cinema where there’s only thirty (ultra comfy) seats. It was a bit spendy, and the other people in the cinema were still distracting but we went. And saw Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond movie. Click more for review including spoilage. (more…)

, , , — YS @ 9:54 pm, November 3, 2012

Sleeping Dogs: a review

I just finished the computer game, Sleeping Dogs, which I played on PS3. It’s an open world game, which means there are a set of tasks to complete but you can also just cruise around the constructed environment. This game is fairly heavily inspired by the Grand Theft Auto franchise. It’s set in Hong Kong and so, also riffs off  Hong Kong cinema of the martial arts and cops n robbers kinds.

The story line was pretty good. It’s about an undercover cop who infiltrates the HK triads. At times we wonder where his loyalties lay and that’s what makes it good. I haven’t watched that film Infernal Affairs for a few years but I suspect it’s a bit similar to that.

The thing that sets it apart is its detailed hand-to-hand combat system. The driving around is also adequate but not quite in the same league as GTA4. There’s some good music on the in-car radio including some new stuff that I got liking.

Almost any song that has some robot voice in I’ll end up saying to myself, hey I like that.

The bass sound is also subtly unique. It makes me want to get a really good quality pair of headphones and work on creating some deep deep beatz that no one will hear.

Untitled

I do vaguely remember seeing Enter The Dragon and its final sequence and not thinking much other than wow Bruce Lee is awesome. But when you see some normal dude getting out of a Lexus wearing yellow sneakers and full-body yellow lycra you tend to take note. Here, Wie Shen, our protagonist gives the proverbial nod to Bruce Lee. [Sportscasters, please stop abusing the word protgonists. They are just sports players, not characters in some story.]

, , , — YS @ 10:51 am, September 29, 2012

Lasonic i931 ghettoblaster: a review

Plenty of front, not much back and sides. That’s the overall thought I’ve got about this. But I do like it though. The first big caveat is that this particular model is now a lot less useful since those coastal cut-throats at Apple anounced that the next iPhone would have a different size/shape dick connector.

One of the big features of the Lasonic is that you can slot your iPhone 4/4s, or current gen iPod into the spot where a cassette tape would traditionally go. And so, all your music on that device is ready to play thru the boombox. Anyway, there’s also slots to insert a USB stick or SD card.

One of the things that originally drew me to this was that it was giving music its own place again—ie not on the computer and played thru whatever speakers were on the computer. But in practice, I’m still playing computer files of music thru the blaster. I haven’t actually stuck the iPhone in there much since that’s the music I listen to when I’m out. USB sticks are do-able but a bit unwieldy. Even if you’ve only got 15 albums on one stick, which ie easily done, even on a 2gig stick, you still have to slowly button press thru each folder (one album, one computer style folder) to get to what you want. It’s just not the same as putting a physical album (LP, tape, CD – I don’t care) on to play and that being that.

It has an AM/FM tuner function on it too, so I expect it’ll come into its own a bit more once I get it back to Melbourne and can listen to great radio like RRR and PBS. Thank god over-the-air radio hasn’t been obsoleted and digitised. One last thing I like about it is the shape – it really is big looking from the front, crying out to be blasting old skool FRESH BEATZ. You can’t see it in my photo (there are better examples on the net) but the top horizontal line of its rectangle is slightly arched, like what the roman architects did with the columns at the Parthenon, so it looks super-phat.

Maybe it never set out for anything else, but the build quality is kind of cheap. It does look very plasticky. The digital clock in the LCD display that shows with it’s turned off doesn’t hold correct time for shit. All the buttons feel cheap when you push them. With the play/stop/back/forward/ buttons, as you can see in the pic, they all have a colour around them. Green is for stop, red is for forward. Either rebellious or thoughtless. At the top it has a picture of the am/fm bandwidths—but it’s just that – a picture, the tuner itself is internal and digital.

The sound quality of the speakers is okay. I’ve read other people saying it’s not that good, but I actually prefer that full-frontal blasting at you set up of two speakers together—when you really want to rock – the tiny, surround sound computery speaker thing is sucky.

Also there’s a mic jack slot for if you want to MC over your fresh beatz, and there’s even a knob for controlling mic echo. I haven’t tried this since I don’t have a mic or a larger size jack plug.

I don’t think these are even being sold now since teh apples announced their dick-size change. I bought it a couple of weeks before the announcement. On amazon or ebay the price for the Lasonic was pretty decent, but anywhere else, like here in korea, or in australia the added cost of shipping and domestic sales tax or customs or whatever really makes it pretty damn expensive for what it is.

New lens, film

, , , , — YS @ 12:33 pm, August 25, 2012
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Sunny Breaks -> what your mother is reading.


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