techie librarian; meatier than a seahorse

 

Tag lines…whatever do you use for your tagline: the subheading of your identity, the punchline by which people establish a connection. Mostly I pay them lip service, smiling occasionally at a clever one. My own tend to refer to variations of: techie, librarian and eclectic, sometimes all 3 at once.

In a rather wayward conversation, spinning down a rabbit hole of curiousity, as things are wont to do when Matt Finch is involved, a recent conversation turned from roasting penguins to eating seahorses.

I participated in a workshop as part of NLS8 and the first activity was for everyone to sketch a scene, in 90 seconds, on a piece of A4 using at least one of three figures on a screen: 2 humans (or human-like) and a penguin. As is my wont, I immediately gave into the dark side and sketched the two humans roasting the penguin. The second half of the activity was for each table to construct a cohesive story using those scenes as panel. They were two quick activities that worked really well as an icebreaker and got you thinking at how easy it was to come up with ideas under pressure.

The seahorses came later…or rather many years earlier:

to which I responded with my “meatier than seahorse” remark and commented elsewhere that while I have never eaten penguin, I have actually eaten seahorse.

Many years ago, 2003 I think (really must upload those photos to flickr), I spent a few weeks on an Intrepid trip in China with friends. We started in Beijing and went to the Beijing night markets, a place where you can eat just about anything including silk worms and even scorpions on a stick. Scorpions were a wee a but scary but we figured had to be ok as noone was dropping dead. As far as we can figure, they’re bred without their stinger.

While trying to order something else, there was a language issue, and I ended up with seahorse on a stick. I think the scorpions were about 20 cents for five whereas the seahorse was a few Oz dollars for one. Our tour guide tried to talk our way out of it but the shopowner insisted. So I paid for it and ate it. There wasn’t much flavour as it was primarily shell with perhaps a tiny morsel of meat.

Matt suggested “meatier than a seahorse” as a bio and it immediately rang the right sort of bells, both physically and metaphorically. I am now using it for all my taglines :-)

time to play

I was a little disappointed that Tomb Raider for the PS4 was not out in time for the long weekend…not to mention Dishonored 2 and the updated version of Skyrim…all of which are due in October. Later in October when I probably won’t have as much time to play. On the other hand, it doesn’t really matter if I don’t get to play them on day 1, yet there is something of that sense of release day anticipation…still. I’m 48 now and I feel it at the edge of my consciousness: lurking, waiting, intensifying. It is the same of books, I have to have that book on day 1, first edition, etc…though I no longer necessarily read it that day.

Yet, day 1 desire remains.

I recently got round to playing The Last of Us, the PS4 remastered version of which was released in 2014…2 years ago, and the PS3 version was released before that. It was still a good game. Then there’s the Bioshock Collection, released in September on the PS4 yet been around for years on other platforms. I nearly bought it for the long weekend but thought no, I won’t finish all 3 by the time Tomb Raider is released. I can always play it later.

The PS3 version of Skyrim was a massive timesink and I spent over 300 hours playing it that summer. I may never have time to play that enough, nor even that amount of time to play. I was single and living alone in those days, now I have other, wonderful people in my life. I still fire up the PS3 and play a little Skyim every so often. Yet, I am also curious about starting from scratch on the PS4 and seeing what sort of game I’d play these days.

Instead, on the long weekend, I bought nothing new and enjoyed what I had. I continue to be rather fond of No Man’s Sky, though it’s more exploratory than actual game. It is strangely alluring and easy to lose many hours playing. I finally got round to playing The Order: 1886 which was generally panned on release as being short and lacking in the gameplay department. While gameplay is a little simplistic and full of detailed setpieces, it is visually sumptious and I’m hard put to think of a game that is so well realised in its visualisation of the environment. I’ve spent a lot of time just sitting back and viewing my surroundings. The story too, seems sufficient and I look forward to finishing it off.

Further to gaming I finally finished season 1 of Daredevil on Netflix which was pretty fab. I found the 13 episodes a little slow at times but the story and character development was good. I’m undecided whether to move to season 2, or watch season 1 of Jessica Jones next, and of course Luke Cage has recently dropped. I have at least read most of the comics for Jessica Jones. To top off a good three days off work, I also managed to get through the first half of season 2 of Once Upon a Time. Somewhere in there, I’d like to fit in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D but suspect I’ll need to buy the DVDs as it doesn’t seem to be on the Oz version of Netflix. I do have the DVDs for the first season of The Expanse and I’ve read the first two books.

So much to watch and play and yet I still hunger for day 1 releases. That’s a wee bit wrong.

tassie spoils

tasmanian wine and whiskyA few weeks ago we popped down to Tassie for a long weekend and amongst other things we, or mostly I, tasted quite a few whiskies and spent evenings in the Nant bar and the Lark bar. We actually visited the Lark bar a couple of times as it had a really good atmosphere and had many Tassie whiskies available as well as Lark, whereas Nant only had Nant from Tassie plus a good range of international whiskies.

We also did a gourmet food tour of Bruny Island including cheese and whisky. The final stop was the House of Whisky and the included tasting was Nant however there was plenty of time so I was able to do a flight of four tastings including:

The Sullivan’s Cove was definitely my favourite, however the Overeem was a close second. Alas, or luckily, the Sullivan’s Cove was not available for sale as it’s really expensive these days. The guy did however give me the empty box as they had about 20 empty boxes out the back. I don’t recall being particularly fond of the Trapper’s but really liked the Mackay’s.

As part of the Bruny Island trip, we had lunch and tastings at the Bruny Island winery and they make some rather yummy pinot noir so I picked up a bottle of their standard and their reserve. The final item in the picture is a colourful owl I picked up at the Salamanca markets.

festing away

For me, Sydney filmfest started today though opening night film was earlier in the week. Saw two films, The Shore Break and The Postman’s White Nights, neither at the State Theatre. I have started filmfest in a place other than I usually start. On the way to the first film in Circular Quay, I passed one of the people I used to sit with. She screamed out “I miss you!” as she dashed past and I screamed “I miss you too” :-)

We had a couple of hours between films so we caught a ferry to Mosman and back. 45 minutes cruising the harbour in the late afternoon sun for free on our opal cards. I could not have done that in my old subscriber days. There wasn’t that sort of time available between films and the State Theatre was just a bit too far from the Quay. We still had an hour to kill when we returned so had white wine and oysters on the promenade. Felt rather grand on a gorgeous winter’s day in Sydney. Even got to watch the sun set over the Harbour Bridge :-)

rituals

Brekky is my mainstay. My luxury. My space. My centre.

brekkyI’ve said as much before. The thought struck me a short while ago that in the 20 or so years that I’ve been enjoying my weekend brekky ritual, I’ve done so through many cafes and many contexts: sometimes alone, with friends, a partner, a girlfriend, and me…at peace. I had a favourite spot that managed to be a cafe despite several changes of ownership…it’s now a japanese restaurant. Admittedly, I don’t live as close to that spot either.

In recent months I’ve been on the prowl for a new cafe, as my previous favourite closed. Nothing new about that; change is the story of my life. There are no sure things, no guarantees, no sense of permanence. Change is the only constant. Of all the cafes I’ve had brekky in on a regular basis, none exist today. I think I’ve found a new regular spot; the reality is that this spot too will disappear in a year or three. That’s ok.

Keeps me on my toes. Keeps me looking. Keeps me open.

tireds

Filmfest is over for another year. For me, that’s 20 fests in 20 years. Alas, it finished with a 6 hour (2 parts with intermission) Indian gangster flick. Passable and would still have worked well at a third of the length. I’ll probably post a filmfest summary in a day or two; feeling a bit wiped at the moment.

When filmfest is on, everything else in my life stops. There’s still some washing up from a week and a half ago to do…I have at least rinsed it. I usually don’t buy groceries prior to filmfest as, from past experience, they don’t last til post fest. I barely see my home; last year I worked from home but this year I worked in the city. My daily routine was something like:

  • get up, shower, etc
  • day at work
  • filmfest
  • home and sleep

and over and over. Just prior to fest, I had a new TV delivered and the cardboard and packing foam etc are still in my lounge room needing to be broken down and tossed (recycled where appropriate). On the cusp of fest, I had 3 cases of wine delivered, one of which I’m finally sampling tonight. Thanks to a friend, I buy a chunk of wine regularly from a good discounter, though I’m also a member of a winery in the Hunter.

Dinner during filmfest is usually dominated by whatever is open near the State Theatre…and consumed quickly prior to the next film. Wine is drunk by the glass and bought from  the bar in the Theatre. I was drinking their Semillon for $8.50 a glass. It was at least a nice drop this year…thankfully, as they’ve had some shockers in years gone by. Not unlike when I travel, the last week or so I’ve only been able to get wine by the glass. Tonight, at home, I cracked open a bottle of red that cost slightly more than that glass of Semillon. At times like this, drinking a $10 bottle of red, it is sheer luxury to be able to keep topping up my glass. That’s a freedom I’ve missed.

time with friends

I tend to have weeks alone, then all of a sudden, several outings with friends all at once. On one hand, it’d be nice to stagger things more evenly, but I much prefer the casual spontaneity of getting together when the mood suits. Time with friends both in virtual and physical spaces, is time well spent. I had a lovely afternoon lunching today with a friend locally as I happened to have a couple of days off.

Caught up with another friend last night and we tried out a couple of the bars I mentioned yesterday: Midnight Special & Bar Racuda. Both were on the quiet side, fair enough given it was a Sunday night, though Hartsyard was packed so we’ll try it another time. Midnight Special do really delicious hot dogs, will happily return just for those. Otherwise though, not really my sort of space; it caters to a different crowd. Bar Racuda was mostly empty and my mate and I had a good evening sitting at the bar chatting to the owner. They did a nice old fashioned too. A comfy sort of space with a nice wooden, welcoming bar. Special was probably a bit too loud for me, whereas Racuda was better suited to chatting…or at least for a deaf bugger like me.

State Theatre FoyerFriday was another night spent locally too: dinner at a pasta/pizza place on King St, followed by a movie at the recently re-opened Dendy. Finally saw Dark Shadows, which was ok and a little bit silly but the story didn’t really hang together very well. I’ve often said, and this confirms yet again, that Burton is a wonderful director who needs a really good writer. Movie was followed by a visit to the Townie which I used to visit occasionally with other groups of friends in years gone by. The fatal mistake of the evening, was that having started on red wine, I finished with a few ciders, not to mention a 2-3am stroll home. Saturday was spent very quietly at home and mostly, in bed :-)

The Wednesday prior was spent with the same group of friends and a few others, a couple of suburbs away playing board games in the Summer Hill Hotel.  Thankfully that wasn’t too late for a work night. All in all, a good round of hanging out with folk. I won’t have much time for socialising over the next couple of weeks. The Sydney filmfest gets underway on Thursday…and not Saturday as I had initially thought. Thankfully, a friend pointed this out to me on the weekend. I start with 2 films on Thursday evening and all up, I think there’s 30 films in my subscription, plus I’m hoping to buy some additional tickets for films outside the subscription series.