Tag Archives: New Experience

Latest New Experiences

7 Feb

I have three weeks of New Experiences to blog about (and I still need to think of something for this week).

One New Experience was that instead of getting my regular duck, apple and sage sausages (so good, but really expensive!) I bought crocodile sausages instead. They were described as a mixture of fish and chicken, and I like both of those so I figured it was worth a shot.

They were so gross.

Possibly we overcooked them – how they look raw is pretty much how they look cooked, so it’s hard to tell when they are done. They were dry and had this weird, gamey taste. But hey, now I know.

Another New Experience was after our Chinese New Year meal, when I went with Jon, Klene and Ray to Crown Casino. Jon is a Crown pro, and knows the ATM limits and which ATMs have higher withdrawal limits (one near the food court apparently). Jon and Ray played craps, $30 blackjack, and a bit of roulette. I think they lost $150 each, and that money went fast! I played $1 roulette – I lost $1 (betting on a corner), then won $5, then lost $5, then lost $5 (betting on evens/odds). I decided all the excitement was too much for me and cashed in my money, content with my $4 profit.

Also, since Jon is a Crown pro, he has a method for getting free parking (you have to have a Crown card, but they are free). You go to the poker room, and put your name on the waitlist for the poker tables. You give them your card, and they’ll pre-emptively add free parking to it. Then you can just run off and not play poker. Sneaky!

And my most recent New Experience was trying fish oil. I don’t think I can really tell the difference, but supposedly it’s one of the few supplements that isn’t a complete waste of time, so I figured I’ll keep at it, at least until the huge tub is empty.

Week 1: Made vanilla extract
Week 2: BJJ day camp
Week 3: Used Myki and went to Beatrix
Week 4: Tried new skincare
Week 5: Competed at the Pan Pacs
Week 6: Joined Kiva
Week 7: Tried durian and frog fallopian tube
Week 8: Attended a chicken auction
Week 9: Graded for my BJJ blue belt
Week 10: Went to Isthmus of Kra
Week 11: Makeover at Mecca Cosmetica
Week 12: Tried the Melbourne Bike Share
Week 13: Picnic at the Carlton Gardens
Week 14: Johnston Street Fiesta
Week 15: Sydney getaway
Week 16: Helped James do a fresh install on the Vaio Z
Week 17: Tried Evernote (and loved it!)
Week 18: Rock climbing
Week 19: Baking Day with Cat, Scott and Alex
Week 20: Went to the beach (I don’t do this often. It was a Big Moment)
Week 21: Jailbroke my Kindle
Week 22: Went to Bar Lourinhã
Week 23: Tried crocodile sausages (they are gross)
Week 24: Gambled at Crown (won $4)
Week 25: Started taking fish oil

My Kindle 3 Arrived!

6 Jan

I ordered a refurbished Kindle 3 (now called the Kindle Keyboard) from Big W on December 30 or 31st and have been hanging out for it ever since!

image from Wikipedia

Big W had it for $99 plus $10 cashback from Paypal, and $89 is an awesome price. Also there have been reports that Big W/Woolworths are actually selling new Kindles as refurbished because they’re trying to offload discontinued stock, which is pretty cool. Even if that’s not the case, my Kindle arrived looking perfect, and came with a comforting 1 year warranty. I was considering the Kindle 4, but there were some reports of the screen not being as good. It also retails for $139 in Australia, and I didn’t think it was worth the difference.

The first thing I did was jailbreak it so I could load custom screensavers using the instructions from this website (that was my new experience for this week, by the way). I spent most of yesterday looking for suitable photos, resizing them and converting them to grayscale. I went for an animal theme, and found a lot of the images on forums where people posted their favourite wildlife photos. =)

James: If I had a Kindle it would be robot themed. All the pictures would be of robots.
*sees a picture of a lion on my Kindle*
James: Ooh I like that one

Here is the picture that James liked enough to abandon his robot dreams. You can click on it for the 600×800 version if you want to steal it for your own Kindle.

You have to be careful with the images because if there are too many gradients in the picture then you get ugly splotches on the Kindle version. I also found that images that were very dark and also very busy didn’t look good – I had a gorgeous photo of some deer in a creepy-looking forest that I had to reluctantly delete.

This one is my favourite. It is a little splotchy on the Kindle screen (and because I had to stretch the image to get it big enough) but I love the picture enough to put up with it.

Loading all those images makes me feel like the Kindle is now mine. =) A side benefit is that I won’t have my soul eaten by Emily Dickinson.

Emily: I’m coming for you anyway Kaye
Me: /sleeps with one eye open

I was quite proud of myself for jailbreaking the Kindle. This stuff normally gets delegated to James, but I thought it looked fairly straightforward, so I gave it a shot. The only part I missed was having to create a blank reboot file every time I changed the screensaver, and luckily for me James had picked up on it. But I still count it as me doing the jailbreaking!

I’m loving everything about it so far, and am enamoured with the idea of carrying my whole library around with me. The screen is easier to read than James’ iPad – it looks so much like paper. James was also very approving that the Kindle came with the manual pre-loaded (I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it was something along the lines of “it makes a lot of sense”). The only thing I don’t want in ebook format is recipe books – I prefer flipping through cookbooks by hand. Also, since the photos aren’t optimised for the Kindle, they look gross and blotchy.

I’m going to get a case from The Office of Minor Details to match the case for my Vaio Z. I don’t want to bulk up the Kindle by using those covers that stay on it all the time, but I want something to protect it when I’m carrying it around. I’m a little worried that it will be too matchy-matchy, but I do love the case and I don’t want to buy my Kindle inferior clothing.

James suggested that I call it the Kayedle but I don’t think that’s going to catch on.

Week 1: Made vanilla extract
Week 2: BJJ day camp
Week 3: Used Myki and went to Beatrix
Week 4: Tried new skincare
Week 5: Competed at the Pan Pacs
Week 6: Joined Kiva
Week 7: Tried durian and frog fallopian tube
Week 8: Attended a chicken auction
Week 9: Graded for my BJJ blue belt
Week 10: Went to Isthmus of Kra
Week 11: Makeover at Mecca Cosmetica
Week 12: Tried the Melbourne Bike Share
Week 13: Picnic at the Carlton Gardens
Week 14: Johnston Street Fiesta
Week 15: Sydney getaway
Week 16: Helped James do a fresh install on the Vaio Z
Week 17: Tried Evernote (and loved it!)
Week 18: Rock climbing
Week 19: Baking Day with Cat, Scott and Alex
Week 20: Went to the beach (I don’t do this often. It was a Big Moment)
Week 21: Jailbroke my Kindle

Catching Up On My New Experiences (Plus Some Gratuitous Chicken Photos)

30 Dec

It’s been a busy few weeks so I haven’t been blogging about my new experiences as much as I should have (though I’ve still been doing them).

These photos are from the latest New Experience, where I had a baking day with Scott, Cat and Alex. I was annoyed at myself because I bought 500g of fancy Warrnambool butter that I accidentally left at home, and now I have a bunch of butter I need to find a use for!

We made maple butter cookies, gingersnaps, and espresso shortbread (though the last one didn’t really work out so I assumed it got given to the chickens). The original plan was to package them really nicely, but I just put mine in an ice cream carton because I didn’t have enough time. Everyone else had nice packaging though.

I always like going to Cat’s house so I can check on my awesome chicken nieces, and Cat updates me about what’s going on with them.

Ducky and the chickens are good friends. The three new chickens hang out with each other, while Gertie and Jermy are lesbonic together. And I’m not just saying that because they’re two old ladies who are good friends – if Gertie and Jermy are separated, Jermy gets all distressed and runs across the garden until she’s next to Gertie again – then they are content and keep doing their turn about the garden. But my point is, nobody’s that good friends.

But anyway, here are the new chickens with Ducky in the background. Things to note in this photo:

  • the awesome whiskers on Princess Layer
  • Anakin Skybawker has really pretty feathers but a bitch face
  • Ducky is digging herself a poo hole

I shouldn’t be mean to Ducky, because she chased away a neighbor’s cat who was stalking the chickens. But Cat said that Ducky once took over the chicken coop, and was sitting in there while all the chickens were freaking out cos they couldn’t go inside. So I am undecided whether Ducky is a hero cat or not.

Here is Cat’s new chicken fence. She got it to stop the chickens from pooping on the deck. She said it’s good for parties because people prop their drinks on the fence, and it has the effect of making the chicken zone seem like a petting zoo.

Also here are some extra photos of Gertie and Jermy loving greek yoghurt.

Week 1: Made vanilla extract
Week 2: BJJ day camp
Week 3: Used Myki and went to Beatrix
Week 4: Tried new skincare
Week 5: Competed at the Pan Pacs
Week 6: Joined Kiva
Week 7: Tried durian and frog fallopian tube
Week 8: Attended a chicken auction
Week 9: Graded for my BJJ blue belt
Week 10: Went to Isthmus of Kra
Week 11: Makeover at Mecca Cosmetica
Week 12: Tried the Melbourne Bike Share
Week 13: Picnic at the Carlton Gardens
Week 14: Johnston Street Fiesta
Week 15: Sydney getaway
Week 16: Helped James do a fresh install on the Vaio Z
Week 17: Tried Evernote (and loved it!)
Week 18: Rock climbing
Week 19: Baking Day with Cat, Scott and Alex

(Almost) A Week In Sydney

10 Dec

A couple of weeks ago James and I went to Sydney for my cousin’s wedding. We arrived on Friday morning and left Wednesday evening. James managed to time it with a business trip so his flights and taxis were taken care of, plus it made sense to do one trip instead of two. His boss was really nice and said to charge all my food to the company too, so I ate for free, yay.

Here is James checking in at the Melbourne Airport. About a month ago when we chose our seats we got ones in the third row, which I think has some extra leg room (at least that’s what James said, and I don’t have any other seats to compare it to).

We had breakfast at the Virgin Lounge. I didn’t take any photos inside because my hands were full with breakfast (2 plates plus a glass of juice). The lounge is to the left after these sliding doors.

It’s a pity because it’s much nicer than the Sydney lounge (which I did take photos of).

From memory they had some cereal, muesli, fruit, various kinds of bread for toasting, jams, mini muffins, juice, and a barista. And also a pancake machine! It could make 2 pancakes at a time, which took maybe 20 seconds. There was a progress meter and the pancakes slid out the right.

They were actually pretty tasty – not as good as homemade, but definitely on par with Maccas pancakes. I added syrup and a dollop of cream.

I slept on the plane – and kept waking up when my mouth fell open, gah – and James watched Breaking Bad on his iPad. When we arrived in Sydney it was about 9am so we had a few hours to kill before check-in. We had our first lunch at Bourke Street Bakery (which I will blog about at some point), our second lunch at a cafe we picked at random, and explored the CBD.

I love these (Ibis?) birds that seem to live in all of the public parks. All we have in Melbourne are crappy seagulls and pigeons. They were all scraggly from the rain and humidity.

Differences Between Melbourne and Sydney

  • Sydney traffic is much worse. In Melbourne there’s only really traffic in the CBD and inner suburbs – in Sydney there’s traffic everywhere. Howie said that 10km in Sydney feels like 30km in Melbourne, which I agree with. OK maybe only 20km. But at any rate, the traffic is awful.
  • Sydney is more humid.
  • The Sydney CBD is larger and more spread out than the Melbourne CBD.
  • Sydney is a lot more spectacular. You turn the corner in the CBD and get a million dollar view of the Harbour Bridge or Opera House.
  • Melbourne has much more of a cafe culture.

After the wedding festivities we went to North Ryde, which is where James works in Sydney. It’s right near Lane Cove National Park, and we had a wander around Sunday afternoon while we had some free time and it was pretty and sunny. Lane Cove National Park is gorgeous, and it’s so remote-feeling that it’s hard to believe it’s only 12km or so from the CBD.

Here is James enjoying the country air.

Edited to add: when James was reading this blog post he disputed my description of the above photo. He said “I was being a lizard!”, and then he pointed at the next photo and went “see??

There were lots of lizards running around. Apparently James no longer goes running in this park because he was once startled by a lizard on a narrow path. The lizard freaked out and went all frilly, and James was so scared he turned around and ran back the other way. He assured me that the lizards we saw that day were much smaller than the one he encountered. Here is one of the lizards.

There was a lake that we walked beside for awhile, but mainly we walked aimlessly around, following a trail and seeing lots of people hiking and picnicking. Luckily I managed to fit in some BJJ.

Since it was a holiday we basically ate like crap the whole time. We had pizza one night – almost finished two family size pizzas between the two of us – and found a nice Thai restaurant that we went back to the next night as well (but more on those in a future post). On the last day, Sam – the wife of James’ colleague – took me sightseeing. We took the ferry to Watson’s Bay and afterwards went to Pancakes on the Rocks where I very decadently ate some chocolate pancakes for lunch. I gained about 1kg in 6 days.

After James finished work we met up and took the train to the airport where we bummed around at the Virgin Lounge in Sydney for awhile. James said the good thing about the Sydney Lounge is that it’s located after security so you can relax before your flight, whereas the Melbourne Lounge is located before security, so you need to leave yourself some extra time.

There were cold cuts, rolls, and a salad bar, some soup (tomato and basil), and a soft drink machine. The staff also came round once with tasty miniature beef and burgandy pies. You can see the salad bar in the background, and around the corner is the booze bar. James got 2 Fat Yak beers and a bowl of potato chips.

This is me, very pleased with the Sydney Lounge (and repping Maromba in Sydney, osss).

The flight was delayed by 30-60 minutes, but it’s almost tolerable when you have the lounge. It sucks when James is away on business, but I could get used to the perks! Speaking of perks, I didn’t really appreciate it in Melbourne when we were early for our flight, but in Sydney we got there after everyone else, and with the priority queue we were able to breeze past the 80+ people already in line. Then we tucked our bags under the seats and chillaxed until Melbourne.

Here is us just about to land in Melbourne around 9pm Wednesday night.

When we got back, one of the cats (most likely Kyoto) had vomited in the kitchen, and the apartment smelled like the copious amounts of cat food we had left for them. At least Mouse still remembered us, which is lucky because he is very stupid.

Week 1: Made vanilla extract
Week 2: BJJ day camp
Week 3: Used Myki and went to Beatrix
Week 4: Tried new skincare
Week 5: Competed at the Pan Pacs
Week 6: Joined Kiva
Week 7: Tried durian and frog fallopian tube
Week 8: Attended a chicken auction
Week 9: Graded for my BJJ blue belt
Week 10: Went to Isthmus of Kra
Week 11: Makeover at Mecca Cosmetica
Week 12: Tried the Melbourne Bike Share
Week 13: Picnic at the Carlton Gardens
Week 14: Johnston Street Fiesta
Week 15: Sydney getaway

Johnston Street Fiesta 2011

1 Dec

Last year James and I stumbled upon the Johnston Street Fiesta and had something called anticuchos that was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. So I made a note of when the festival would be on this year so I could go eat it again.

Behold Casa Iberica, home to the best portuguese tarts in Melbourne (and a variety of other Spanish ingredients and cooking implements) It was pretty crowded inside.

The tarts are like a custardier (and far tastier) version of Chinese egg tarts. They were 3 for $5.

We wandered up and down looking for the anticuchos stall, but the guy had only just started warming the coals and was 2 hours away from serving. So we whetted our appetites with a lamb, feta and spinach gozleme for $10.

My gozleme being made.

It initially seemed like a bit of a rip, but it was very filling and so tasty, especially with the addition of lemons and mint yoghurt (though I think James preferred the chilli sauce).

With the anticuchos still far away we went for a wander to Smith street for James to buy some clothes, and saw some gorgeous street art along the way. This was painted on the side of a vet building, which totally makes me want to go to that vet.

We got back to Johnston street around 1:30 and it was heaps busier and a lot more festive.

After the long wait we were eventually rewarded with anticuchos! Skewers were $10 each and you got a small roll perched on top (used for stuffing the meat into).

Incredible.

Next year if you’re at the Spanish Fiesta, this is the stall to look out for. Apparently they don’t have a restaurant, they just travel to different festivals and they have recently been cutting back which ones they do.

James bought some honey lemonade which was refreshing, but pretty expensive for $3. Also the guy who sold it trains at Absolute MMA and recognised me!

We obviously couldn’t leave without some churros.

These were fairly expensive too – 3 for $6 plus $2 for the dipping sauce.

The total cost of the food was $46. It’s more than I had expected to pay for street food, but everything was delicious, and admittedly we ate a lot. We’ll definitely be back next year – and now we know not to arrive until 2pm for the anticuchos. =)

Week 1: Made vanilla extract
Week 2: BJJ day camp
Week 3: Used Myki and went to Beatrix
Week 4: Tried new skincare
Week 5: Competed at the Pan Pacs
Week 6: Joined Kiva
Week 7: Tried durian and frog fallopian tube
Week 8: Attended a chicken auction
Week 9: Graded for my BJJ blue belt
Week 10: Went to Isthmus of Kra
Week 11: Makeover at Mecca Cosmetica
Week 12: Tried the Melbourne Bike Share
Week 13: Picnic at the Carlton Gardens
Week 14: Johnston Street Fiesta

Picnic at the Carlton Gardens

21 Nov

It has been a long time since James and I have gone on a picnic – long enough that it counted for my new experience that week. =) A couple of weekends ago we took advantage of the lovely weather to head to the Carlton Gardens.

James picked a nice picnic spot under shade, with a nice view of the water, and far away from shrieking children.

We packed some water, sandwiches and scones, and while we were walking to the gardens we decided to pick up some oysters too. They were $10 a dozen at the Vic Market, and the lady there chucked in one of their display lemons too. =)

Here are the scones, made from this recipe. These were a big hit with James, who gave me his second sandwich so he could eat more scones.

There were supposed to be ducks at the park, so we bought a loaf of stale bread at the Vic Market. We only saw 2 ducks, which was probably the biggest disappointment of the day. We threw some bread at them, but they weren’t really interested. I guess when you are the only 2 ducks at a park you get fed a lot.

This guy was at our lake and kept flapping his wings very elaborately in what we assumed was some sort of mating ritual. Unfortunately there were no other birds around to see it.

After we ate we lounged around on the picnic rug a bit, and then we walked home. It was a nice day, but marred a bit by the lack of ducks – the main reason I wanted to go was to feed them! When we got home I put the loaf of bread in our freezer for next time – no sense in wasting perfectly good bread. =)

Week 1: Made vanilla extract
Week 2: BJJ day camp
Week 3: Used Myki and went to Beatrix
Week 4: Tried new skincare
Week 5: Competed at the Pan Pacs
Week 6: Joined Kiva
Week 7: Tried durian and frog fallopian tube
Week 8: Attended a chicken auction
Week 9: Graded for my BJJ blue belt
Week 10: Went to Isthmus of Kra
Week 11: Makeover at Mecca Cosmetica
Week 12: Tried the Melbourne Bike Share
Week 13: Picnic at the Carlton Gardens

Melbourne Bike Share

11 Nov

Last Sunday instead of walking to the gym, James and I decided to try the Melbourne Bike Share bikes. Actually the original plan was to have tried it the week before, but when we went to the 7-11 to pick up helmets they didn’t have any available. The bike station at the Melbourne Uni gym has a helmet vending machine so after we walked to the gym we picked up 2 helmets ($5 each, but returnable to a 7-11 for a $3 refund).

Then the following Sunday we swiped James’ credit card at the Queen Vic Market station and picked up our 2 bikes.

It was $2.50 each for the whole day – it would have been more if we’d kept the bikes for longer, but the ride to the gym was under 30 minutes so it was free. It was a good route because it consisted entirely of riding on bike/pedestrian shared footpaths.

Unfortunately I was too short for the bike, even with the seat all the way down. Embarrassingly enough on the way there I needed James to wheel me along at the start because I couldn’t push off with the giant bike.

I get extremely nervous when I can’t even touch the ground on tippy-toes, and the back wheel made a particular whirring noise that kept tricking me into thinking another bike was tailgating me. I was pretty much in a state of mild panic the whole time, and my death-grip on the bike handles meant that when I arrived at the gym my forearms were killing me.

This was me on the way back. Is that how helmets are supposed to sit? It looks like a blue mushroom on my head.

I regret that we didn’t get any action shots because I think I looked adorable perched on the huge bike. Despite being downhill, the ride back was less stressful than the ride there. Maybe it was because I was more mentally prepared for the giantness of the bike. Maybe it’s because I was braking the whole way home.

Overall I don’t think I’d repeat the experience – I’m not against riding bikes but I wasn’t a fan of these ones. It didn’t save any time  because we had to backtrack a little to get to the bike station, and it took time to get the bikes set up and put them back when we arrived at the gym. Plus $5 is okay to spend as a novelty, but I wouldn’t want to pay that every weekend for no real benefit.

Actually I think in general I don’t have much use for bikes as a means of transport. If somewhere is close I walk, if it’s far I drive, and if it’s in between I take public transport. And I’m too jittery to ride on the road (Cat collided with a car at pretty much the lowest speed possible – she was stationary and the car was just starting to drive off – and she was injured for months. Also her friend’s uncle lost his leg in a bike accident!)

I’m glad I tried out the Melbourne Bike Share though, because I learned that the bikes aren’t really suited for my transport situation. I also learned that the bikes aren’t short-people friendly. Oh yeah, and I learned that Kalo saw me riding the bike and laughed for 10 minutes. At least he didn’t see James wheeling me along at the start like a parent teaching his kid how to ride a tricycle.

Week 1: Made vanilla extract
Week 2: BJJ day camp
Week 3: Used Myki and went to Beatrix
Week 4: Tried new skincare
Week 5: Competed at the Pan Pacs
Week 6: Joined Kiva
Week 7: Tried durian and frog fallopian tube
Week 8: Attended a chicken auction
Week 9: Graded for my BJJ blue belt
Week 10: Went to Isthmus of Kra
Week 11: Makeover at Mecca Cosmetica
Week 12: Tried the Melbourne Bike Share

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