22 December 2005


A while ago I helped out at a conference and I scored a voucher for dinner at the unsettlingly expensive Jordons restaurant in Darling Harbour, Sydney. As is the way with things, this voucher languished at the bottom of a forgotten drawer; however, we were able to dig it up in time and last weekend Briony and myself sauntered on down to the waterfront for dinner at Jordons.

jordons restaurant

Jordons is famous for it's seafood, a point which was lost on us as Briony and myself are mostly vegetarian. The food itself was quite reasonable - with a restaurant with such a high turnover, I guess you can't expect everything to be really fresh.

view from jordons

Using some high tech tomfoolery I was able to get off a decent shot of the view from the restaurant into Darling harbour. With the voucher's contribution, it was easily one of the best $10 meals that we've ever had :P

manly beach

Next on the menu for the weekend was a trip down to Manly for a Christmas BBQ at the bosses place. Given all the recent entertainment on the Southern beaches, Manly beach was extremely quiet. Councils are confident that people will dribble back to the beaches over the break. However, I don't think that the stand-offish atmosphere in the beachside suburbs are doing much to help. The cultural makeup of the lab is reasonably diverse, and we couldn't help feeling a little out of place in the pubs and clubs around the beach. The hoteliers were understandably nervous (they didn't want to see any sort of trouble, and hence were quite paranoid) - but it's still weird feeling out of place in the city you call home.

blue gem concert

On the other end of the scale, however, we capped off our weekend by going to the most surprising Christmas Caroling gigs I have ever been to. Blue Gem Shining Amongst The Stars was led by Briony's singing teacher, Nadia Piave. In stark contrast to the weirdness out near the beaches, this was a musical and cultural blender unlike any I have experienced before. There were performers from a huge range of backgrounds, including Persian, Italian, Sicilian, Yidaki (Australian Aboriginal), French and even performances in Old English. It really was incredible listening and watching performers cover classic, seasonal (the whole Yuletide thing) and traditional songs with a variety of instruments. There were even a familar face on the guitar and piano accordian (seriously, is there anything that he can't do?).

In particular, the traditional Persian music (vocals primarily by Massoud - all I know is that he is Persian, based in Lakemba, and has a voice that blew me away), performed with the superb acoustics at St. Saviours Church had me totally enthralled. The whole gig renewed my faith in the fact that the whole cultural melting-pot thing works just fine (thank-you-very-much), and I'm looking forward to going to similar gigs in the future - I got a real kick out of it.

15 December 2005

we're men.. men in tights

Those famous Sydney Opera House sails

First off - Ray's pictures from the weekend down at Vincentia are up online - thanks for that Ray :)

Briony took me out to the Opera House last night for the production of Sleeping Beauty, mostly for a fun night out but partly to attempt to get me slightly more cultured.

What I was expecting was opera - and what I got was ballet. So, there were a few niggling little things that might have got to me. Whilst I could get into the technical aspects of the performance - people in tight clothing basically hurling themselves and others all over the damn stage like a precision driving team - I was at a complete loss to follow the story. Briony tells me that this is fairly normal for an opera, so there we were madly reading the program with a flashlight whilst the performance was running trying to work out what was happening. The music was very dainty, there wasn't a lot of oomph to it - and the ballet itself also involved industrial strength doses of yet more fluttery daintiness. I was unsurprised to discover that this wasn't my thing. Maybe one day when I'm older I might appreciate it :P

Despite mixed reviews, the house was packed, so presumably lots of people did get into it. More power to them, I say. All said and done, it was a night out on the town, and it was at the Opera House (which is always cool). Now I can conclusively say that I've tried watching ballet, and, well, the tight tights just give me the creeps.

Since I've ruled out Ballet from my list of upcoming entertainment, what's up-and-coming on the idiot box? Well, first off the rank is the Dr. Who Christmas special (Dec. 25 2005), then the next episode of Battlestar Galactica (Jan. 6 2006 - wooo!), and finally the ever-so-confusing continuation of Lost (Jan. 11 2006). I'm not a nerd. Not me.

The next couple of weeks will involve a lot of traveling around Sydney for family and friends Christmas functions; it's nice to know that the moderate voices in Sydney's famously unbalanced media have been keeping things orderly in the light of all the fun that's been happening out Cronulla way. It's all been staggeringly stupid, I hope the upcoming weekend will be a bit quieter.

ps. I'd like to say a big hello to the only two people in the world who are visiting this blog. Hi. Hows it going.

6 December 2005

salvador dali's magic castle

Update: Briony's take on events.

The Canberra Invasion Force invaded the quiet south coast town of Vincentia, in Jervis Bay last weekend. There was a rubber chicken. There was taboo. There was a sandcastle. In fact, gentle reader, there was enough to keep us out of trouble for the best part of three days and I hope a good time was had by all.

Myself, Briony, Marc (whom was our driver for the weekend - much thanks again), Ray, Mos and Tuan arrived on Friday night, with Adelina and Amanda arriving on Saturday morning. While we were waiting around on Saturday morning, we indulged in some high-speed chicken photography:

Subsequently we traveled to nearby Huskisson for lunch and a bit of Ray-casting.

After heading back to Vincentia, we built a monstrous sand-castle.

This was followed by a movie and some board games:

Next morning, the sand castle had been washed away :( I think Mos cried :P

We cleared up, and started making our ways home:

On the way back, we stopped in at the surprisingly vibrant centre of Woolongong for an excellent dinner at Ghedia's.

A complete gallery of the weekend can be found here.

Of course, my geeky side followed my down for the holiday, and thusly I found myself mucking about with my brand new tripod, my camera and the hugin stiching tools. The below links either link to a larger image or to a java panaroama viewer (java required for these :P).

The beach house (image link here):

Ray is absolutely beside himself in Huskisson (image link here):

Orion beach at Vincentia (image link here):

The completed sand-castle (non-java):

How Salvador Dali might have viewed the sand-castle:

View out into Jervis Bay (image link here):

Anyway, that's enough for me today. I probably should get some sleep :)