I am going to start publishing my blog posts at blackboxoutput.blogspot.com.au as Blogger provides better integration with Google+ and requires lower maintenance than a custom WordPress site. This blog will stay dormant for the time being. Let’s see if I am going to miss all those widgets and plugins.
Nothing to see there. At the peak elevation of 1271 metres weather gets really crazy and scares away all vegetation except some stubborn shrubs that took their lessons from Bear Grylls. There are warning signs both on the mountain and in Wikipedia which tell the adventurers that the weather can change rapidly and warm clothes are recommended at all times. I felt it before I had time to read any signs. It was 30°C at the sea level so we arrived to the summit wearing only T-shirts. We left the car, we jumped back into the car. Next time we emerged from it we had two more layers of clothes on us and a fourth layer wouldn’t be unwelcome. (more…)
Despite the tangily refreshing oak spiciness of their Chardonnays, the Ecksians weren’t the kind of people to let a brewery burn.
—Terry Pratchett, The Last Continent
We didn’t take a brewery tour but went straight to the visitor’s centre. At the entrance we were each given a crown cap which was an equivalent of a discount voucher in the beer garden, or in Minecraft terms, a crafting ingredient – if you put together a crown cap and a 50 cents coin you would get a glass of fresh beer – pure magic! (more…)
Bargain Car Rentals office was closed. We arrived to Hobart Airport at 10 am on Sunday, their working hours started at 9 am but the office was closed. There was a piece of paper on the door with a phone number which I was asked to call if the office was unattended. As it was a mobile number, I assumed that it belonged to a local office worker. I dialled it and explained that I was waiting at the office door.
“What office?” I was asked. Well, I knew that Hobart wasn’t a big city so maybe they had just one employee who served all Hobart offices on request.
“Airport,” I replied.
“In which city?” asked the person on the other end with a note of annoyance in the voice. My next thought was too crazy to think. Could it be that the same guy served all… nah, impossible! (more…)
In February 2013 we made a wine tour in Mudgee. One winery, Huntington Estate, stood out in my memory as a place where I liked all wines I tasted. Later, in August, I received a newsletter from them where they had a special deal on their aged wines which were sold as cleanskins. I always ignored such advertisements that offered mixed cases of wines selected by persons unknown for reasons unknown, but this time was different – it was from Huntington. In fact, I didn’t plan on buying more wine for quite a while as I was still stocked up after Mudgee trip and Sydney Good Food and Wine Show, but they offered 8 to 11 years old wines for 10-15 dollars a bottle, and again, it was from Huntington. Still, how would I justify buying another case? Clink! Once my thoughts turned in the direction of finding reasons (or, shall I say, excuses), it was a done deal. My wife was just happy that I finally decided what gift I wanted for Father’s Day…
Although the wines were called cleanskins, each bottle had a simple white label with a wine name. There were 7 different labels in a case. I didn’t expect them to sell outstanding aged wines for that price, but all wines were basically good and I wouldn’t mind buying a bottle of each sort again. However, there was one bottle which was simply excellent - 2003 Huntington Estate Abercorn Grower’s Revenge. It was an unusual blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz. The wine was warm and velvety on the palate and had that pleasant bitterness of overripe black cherry which I like so much. The taste became even better after I opened the bottle and left it under a vacuum seal for a week. I’d like to buy a case of that wine, but it’s not on sale anymore.
In the first week of December 2013 we visited Tasmania. The timing was critical as Olga wanted to see fields of poppy and lavender and there were only two weeks in a year when they blossomed at the same time. We also planned to visit other, season-independent attractions which included landscapes, seascapes, historic sites, wineries, breweries, distilleries, local gourmet food producers, and all this in just 8 days!
We decided to fly to Hobart and rent a car there rather than use BYO car option. The ferry fare alone was the same as the car hire cost to say nothing about saved accommodation expenses and time. To give ourselves even more time we did not return to Hobart but flew back from Launceston.
During our trip we stayed at 5 different places which you can see on the map below.
Photos, impressions, reviews will follow soon.
In June last year we spent a week on Hamilton Island. In many respects it was a unique trip. For one thing, it was our first beach holiday in Australia, the kind when after breakfast you ask yourself what you are going to do all this time before lunch. In contrast, our previous holiday trips were thoroughly planned affairs which involved booked motels (a different one each day), long hours behind the steering wheel and, the worst of it, early wake-ups, because you only had so much time before the sunset. (more…)
(Inspired by Chekhov’s Elements Most Often Found in Novels, Short Stories, Etc and, naturally, by Pratchett’s Discworld)
Discworld, geology and geography thereof. Usually at the beginning.
Death the Grim Reaper, Death the Cat Lover, death.
Going right through and out the other side.
Things that you know where you are with.
Consequences of uttering the word “monkey” in the presence of an orangutang.
Things that happen to other people.
News like <insert the protagonist’s name here> spreading fast.
Topologically impossible description of Ankh-Morpork’s foundation.
Quantum as a default explanation of everything (or, at least, of anything that the author didn’t care to explain humorously).
Darkness that is more than simple absence of light; silence that is not just mere absence of sounds.
Running, more often from than to.
Laws that are just guidelines.
Wheels rolling out of wreckage.
** Often the funniest part
Browsing Sydney Morning Herald I found this job ad:
It looks like something from another life or another country. The ad explicitly says that the shift is full 8 hours every one of which will make a lucky employee $2.92 better off. This “opportunity” prompts a lot of questions.
Firstly, is it legal? FairWork Ombudsman says that a minimum wage is $15.96 per hour.
Secondly, who will bother to apply if dole is $33 a day?
Thirdly, how one can survive on this money if pensioners are struggling on twice that amount?
And finally, what is an inexperienced forklift operator paid? Not that I want to apply though.
It was a brilliant idea to put advertisement boards across the tracks on train stations. Bored commuters waiting for their trains would read anything for the sake of entertainment. So did I today and was rewarded with a view of a designer’s gaffe. I don’t think that the guy on the ad actually sports a womens shirt. It is much more likely that the designer simply flipped the image unwittingly changing the sexual orientation of that garment. I wonder if MIT marketing team overlooked this blunder or they simply didn’t care…