Wednesday, May 28, 2008

new zealand sheep shearing

you can't help but wonder about the lives of sheep when you visit new zealand. i must have already seen tens of thousands of them. there are roughly 40 million sheep, and only about 4 million people on this island!

now, every year lambs are born, and we can all guess their fate. but what about those tens of thousands of sheep i've seen roaming the countryside? why, they are used for wool, of course! we wanted to see how they shear sheep, and boy did we... check out the two videos below.

sheepy doesn't look too happy, but she was bouncing about afterwards. getting all that extra hair off might be nice.

Monday, May 26, 2008

fine fine dining in beautiful sydney

hi all. i know i haven't posted in a long while. i was finishing up the semester at berkeley, and then immediately off to sydney and new zealand. i've only now got a bit of time to finally post something. so here it is:

daniela, lori and i had a wonderful food overload at tetsuya’s, a french-japanese restaurant in sydney. i have seen tetsuya’s near the top of some “best restaurant in world” lists, and some people had mentioned it to me, so it seemed only natural that if i could get a reservation, i should go. here we are:

tetsuya’s serves an n-course meal (n > 10) that is, quite simply, superb. the signature dish, Confit of Petuna Tasmanian Ocean Trout with Konbu, Daikon & Fennel, is to die for. just the right amount of fishiness, a nice spiciness on top, wow. the other dish I strongly remember is a palate cleanser apple sorbet with apply jelly that lead into dessert. it tasted like granny smith apples, transported me back to apple picking in ontario in the fall, and put a big smile on my face. here are pictures:

of course, there were other good courses, but these two resonate.

in addition to the meal, we matched it with the “you will drink about a bottle of alcohol” wine pairing. of course, that wasn’t the name, but that’s how the server described it. well, pairings are good, and though i can’t remember anything too fantastic about the wine, other than a cab and dessert wine that I thought were excellent, the wine certainly put lori a bit over the top, and we had some interesting arguments/conversations.

here are two discussions that i think you, dear reader, will appreciate.

the first involved a painting in the women’s bathroom. we disagreed on what it depicted, with omar and daniela in one corner, lori in the other. i actually saw this painting by briefly going into the women’s bathroom, because i had to understand the controversy. daniela was kind enough to capture it with the camera, and so you too can join in the discussion. what does this painting depict?

the second controversy erupted over this dish, comte with lentils:

now, in my mind, food can make a statement about food. this dish was perhaps trying to make a statement about what dessert is, and how flavors can be paired (the red beans, traditonally sweet, were not so sweet and the cheese was a different touch). but just like art can make a statement about other art, the form of that statement, and how it appeals to the visual sense is of the utmost importance for the statement to be very successful. so, in my mind, i thought this food statement fell on its face because it just didn’t work at all in my mouth.

this is not to say that i wouldn’t appreciate a food that doesn’t taste good. i would, if it really did something else that was quite profound. same with art.. i’ve seen some pretty “bad” art that i nevertheless liked because of the connection i thought it made. but i guess i have a really high bar when it comes to food that tries to make that movement. i can’t even remember what lori was arguing but notice a picture of her below… clearly she’s having a good time :)

finally here's a fun video of a required dunking we had to do to make the taste just right:

Friday, May 09, 2008

paper or plastic? how about both

while shopping today i observed the most annoying and interesting thing in the checkout line. the cashier asked the patron "paper or plastic?" she thought for a moment, and then said "both." both! the cashier looked at her funny and then she said "you know, paper inside the plastic." -- ah it's for ease of carrying, very nice.


waste -- we don't even think about how much we waste. today while shopping i thought "huh, it's sort of dumb to use these new plastic bags for my vegetables when i have the same ones just sitting at home." well, at least i took a canvas bag to the shop -- ease my conscience a tad.


on my birthday my net stuff accumulation was +12 toy horses - 10 marbles.. give or take. oh, and of course gifts of wine. and a poster.


looking around my room now, i realize i have so much junk, and i wonder if anyone would find much of it useful. like, what the hell is that easter egg basket with the frizzy pieces of string going to do to improve anyone's life? waste. though, maybe i can get raja to ride in it.

hmm... maybe it is better that it just inhabits a spot in my room -- who knows, it may end up in the landfill otherwise.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

on a sustainability campaign in my building

"they" are running a sustainability campaign in my building. it's an interesting idea, but the execution could use some work. anyway, "they" posted all these papers around the building giving information to inquisitive people. in the elevator, you can see that the info sheet was defaced:

in fact, on the left hand side "they" write that consuming less (just not buying) would be best if it were possible. someone scrawls "recession" around that point. another person hits them for a grammar mistake. lots of "wasting paper" comments. this is tough work!

in the bathrooms, "they" put stickers near the lights which attempt to encourage you to turn off the light if you're the last one inside. our lab discussed these stickers briefly, and i've been watching this one. i wander into the bathroom at various times of day just to see if the switch is off when i go in. it hasn't been off for the past few days. this campaign has been ignored.

what would i have changed in their campaign? first, i think they've have a great start. they've got the building manager behind them, which is fantastically important. next they need more people from the lab spaces in the building to come on board. they need to consider whether the messaging is appropriate for the audience -- are those blank white sheets with tear-offs in the elevator actually appropriate? why not make the whole thing a bit more fun and irreverent? undergrads and grads love that.

well, i'm just happy they are trying. as they say in industry: "ready, fire, aim"
finally, i love the "they" construct

Saturday, May 03, 2008

baby mama, videoblogging and chompin the bit

tonight i saw baby mama with some friends. all the friends were women. i went to a chick flick with a bunch of women. warning bells? meanwhile, men all around me were cozying up to iron man, which looked far more appropriate for me.

but i baby mama'd anyway. and instead of typing up my thoughts, here's me, video blogging! what? yeah!

i have to work on my delivery. could use some plants behind my head. i'll work on presentation and the set, i promise, if you think this is worth doing.

finally, i chose a wolf parade song that i thought was an appropriate contrast to this one-shot, easy-does-it-margaret culture.