I woke up feeling cranky this morning. My first thought after "Geez I'm cranky." was "Oh I want coffee." I realised that I'd gone from a grande skim latte per day routine to almost nothing. I can only think of two coffees I've had since I've been on leave from work, and I'm used to at least one per day.
So since it was payday, I decided to go for a walk to my local shops and have a really nice lunch with coffee. I packed my bag with a good book (I'm reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan at the moment) and set off for a walk in the sunshine.
I decided to pop in to Ned's Deli Cafe, since I knew they do Merlo coffee (for those not in Brisbane, Merlo is one of the few locally roasted coffees in Brisbane - local really does make a difference.)
The service is always good at Ned's. I straight up ordered my skim latte and it was on my table very, very quickly. Merlo didn't fail me at all - even the scent of it had me feeling more sprightly.
I ordered their quiche lorraine with a side order of beer battered chips for lunch and one of their "Pick Me Up" juices, which is apple and watermelon juice with a touch of mint. The quiche was very good, full of ham and onion and tomato, which a lorraine doesn't usually have, but I wasn't complaining, and a hefty sized portion. It was also light and creamy through the egg which is how I like my quiche. The beer battered fries were a perfect side order size - not scabby but also not too huge that you either end up too full or leave half of them. They were cooked to golden, crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside perfection and served with aioli for dipping. The juice was lovely too, I could see them preparing it fresh and it had just the right hint of mint without being overpowering.
While I ate I sat in a cozy corner reading my book, and the staff didn't interrupt, which is something that really bugs me when I'm sitting reading over a meal. When I was finished the waiter came to get my plate and only when I looked up and thanked him, did he ask me how I found the meal. It's something that annoys me a lot, when waiters ask you constantly how the meal is. Even if I'm not reading alone, they always seem to catch me while I'm chewing or in conversation if I'm with friends. Even when the waiter came to get my juice glass he said "Excuse me, sorry to interrupt, but may I take your juice glass?" So nice to have my peace and quiet while reading respected.
I was so comfortable I decided to order another coffee, which again arrived really promptly, and the wait staff left me to it to savour it and enjoy my book. When I got up to pay and leave, then the woman behind the counter again asked me how my meal was and was really friendly. It was a delight to pay!
As I walked out the door, I realised that my cranky mood had completely gone. The spring was back in my step. I'm not sure if it was just the coffee or a combination of coffee and the lovely service. Either way, I'd definitely recommend Ned's Deli Cafe to anyone who is in the Yeronga area.
I'm on holidays from work and I decided to head out to Wynnum for a few hours, just to get out and about and as the weather was hot, I thought it would be cooler down there. For those of you who don't know Brisbane, Wynnum is a suburb out on the Moreton Bay side of Brisbane.
So I caught the train out there, wandered down to the central part of the suburb, bought myself a meat pie from Perrett's Bakery (not bad, tasty but not what I'd call fantastic by way of meat pies) and headed down to the esplanade for a bit. Found myself a picnic table, camped out with my book and read and had my lunch.
After awhile I decided I felt like a coffee, so I headed back up into the town part and spotted a nice looking place called The Olive Cafe. A pretty corner cafe painted in spring green, with yummy looking cakes and pastries and the coffee smelled really good. I ordered a coffee and a gorgeous "raspberry delight" cupcake, mostly because it looked so pretty. Here, check it out:
See? Isn't it pretty? Now cos it was pretty, I whipped out my iPhone (yes, I'm one of THOSE) and tweeted a quick picture to my tweeps. Then I got out my real camera (nothing fancy, just a Canon Powershot A550) and was taking a couple of decent photos, with the intention of blogging up how lovely The Olive Cafe are.
As I was snapping off a couple of shots, this old guy comes up to me from behind the counter and says "Are you enjoying the muffin?" I replied that I hadn't tasted it yet, but it was very pretty. He then said "Why are you taking pictures? If you're taking pictures you should give me money." I was a bit taken aback and I responded that it was pretty, so I like to take photos, to which he said "Then you should pay me!" And at that moment the other guy behind the counter, who I guessed was his son, spoke to him firmly in another language and he backed off.
But he spent the next five minutes giving me filthy looks until he and his wife left the cafe.
Now, tell me this people. I just bought the cupcake. With my money. Shouldn't I be able to do what I bloody well like to it once I've paid for it? I should be able to shove it in my left ear if I want to.
It really marred an otherwise lovely cafe. Because not only was it pretty, and the service I got at the counter from the other man and the young woman who made my coffee was lovely, but the cake was DIVINE tasting and the coffee (a skim latte) perfect.
I wonder if the old guy would have confronted me like that had I not been on my own? Or had I been a man? It was just really rude and unnecessary because I was actually planning to share the pictures and give his business some good blogosphere space. I would have bought a couple of the other kinds of cupcakes (which were as pretty as this one) to bring for a friend I'm seeing tomorrow but I was just really put off.
Well, since I took a few photos and it got me some grief, I may as well give you some more cupcake porn...
Can you see why I took photos? It's GORGEOUS!
If you like good coffee and delicious cakes, definitely try the Olive Cafe at Wynnum. Hopefully you won't get harassed if you decide to take a picture of the pretty food.
Last weekend was a big one in Brisbane. What with the Brisbane Writers Festival and Brisbane Festival on. The city and South Bank were jumping for a good four or five days across the two festivals.
I got to go to a lot of the writers festival, as I took the Friday off work. I did go to the reading at Greystone Bar at Southbank on the Thursday night, where Carl Cleves, Marie Munkara, Tom Cho and Christian Lander each gave a reading from their books. I particularly enjoyed Tom Cho and Christian Lander, both who are masters at the art of deadpan delivery. Lots of laughs to be had there.
Tom Cho at Greystone Bar
Christian Lander at Greystone Bar
My first event on Friday morning was the "Conversations With Richard Fidler" session that was live to air for ABC radio. The subject was "Not Tonight Honey" with guests Bettina Arndt and Linda Javin. It was fascinating to be behind the scenes for a live to air radio broadcast and a great topic of conversation. I found Bettina Arndt absolutely delightful, and Richard Fidler is always good value. Not so impressed with Linda Javin, but she did raise some interesting points.
The next session I went to was local author Krissy Kneen in the Red Box theatrette. Krissy has written a sexual memoir, and boy is she a brave lady. She has really put her whole life out there and isn't afraid to talk about it. I admire that, even though her life and her values are somewhat different to my own. She really hit the nail on the head when she said that she didn't care if people didn't like her personally (or her lifestyle) but she felt it when they criticised her writing. I deeply admire that attitude. A fascinating session, and hosted by a friend of Krissy's, Benjamin Law.
My last session for the day was the "Creativity: Art or Science" with John Birmingham, Rowan Gilmore and Mandyam Srinivasan. A lot more scientific talk than I had anticipated, but I did really enjoy it and it gave me some good food for thought.
I had planned to turn up early on the Saturday morning, but was knackered so I stayed home and had a bit of a sleep in, and hit the 11.30am session first up, "Disco Boy: What's in a Name" with Nick Earls and Dominic Knight, hosted by a very sexy Scotsman in a kilt, who I have subsequently found out is one Lee McGowan. Lots of laughs to be had in this session, as is always expected in any session featuring Nick Earls.
Lee McGowan, Nick Earls and Dominic Knight
The next session I went to, "My Big Fat Eccentric Family" with Gary Bryson, Tom Cho and Catherine Therese turned out to be both the biggest surprise and the highlight of the entire festival for me. Gary Bryson read a fantastic passage from his book a fiction piece that is very reminiscent of his own childhood life in Scotland. Tom Cho gave some readings from his book, including his fantastic reworking of Dirty Dancing. But it was Catherine Therese that was the surprise and delight. Her reading turned into a performance piece and she's such a delightful creature, honest and true to herself, and the inclusion of Bryson and Cho into the piece was fantastic.
After that, I dashed over to the Breezeway to the "Adventurers: Moving On from the Boy Scouts" session with Chris Bray, Gary Weare and Andrew Westoll. We heard about their boys own adventures, in the Himalayas, Arctic and South American jungle. Inspirational to hear their stories and perhaps find my own adventures.
The final event for the writers festival for me was a major disappointment. I went along to "Strong Women Write Strong Women" with Tobsha Learner and Marianne de Pierres. I would have enjoyed it a whole lot more if they'd had someone other than Tobsha Learner, who was more interested in talking about how successful she was rather than the strong women that she apparently writes. Marianne de Pierres would have been interesting enough to see on her own, she is a rare creature of Australian authors - a female speculative fiction writer. Very disappointing session to end on.
That said though, as a whole I really enjoyed the Brisbane Writers Festival 2009, especially as they've gone back to the format with plenty of free events available. The average person can't afford four days worth of events that start at $10, so I missed a couple of years there. It's good to be able to go and see writers from all over Australia and around the world strut their stuff.
I'm not talking about your McDonald's greasy kind, or your local takeaway where they do the plain but hearty kind. I'm talking about your beautifully grilled, good quality meat, real cheeses, a selection of hand made sauces, mayos and relishes, and real onions and potatoes on the side.
Luckily for me, this kind of burger is becoming really easy to find in Brisbane.
There is the chain Grill'd, which have several locations in Brisbane and I heard last night that they're opening up one in South Bank, just down from the cinemas where Batavia used to be. I've been to the one at Bulimba and the burger I had there was delicious. And the chips... oh I could sell my soul for those herbed chips. So it will be a welcome thing to have one as close as South Bank for me. Even though it is sad to see the lovely Batavia go.
Last night I took some lovely Twitter ladies to Beastie Burgers at South Bank before we went to BTUB, the first Friday of the month Brisbane Twitter get together at Greystone Bar. One look at the menu and I was stuck. Which of these delicious burgers was I going to chose? One with haloumi, the king of cheeses? One with sweet potato, the queen of potatoes? I ended up going with the Swiss Miss, the princess of burgers. A beef burger with swiss cheese, seasoned mayo, onions and gherkins. I also ordered a side of "fries".
I wasn't disappointed in my choice. The burger was HUGE, the meat was really good quality and the other fillings all married up in a delicious medley. When the fries came, they were actually little chat potatoes that I think had been roasted, served with aioli. Damn they were good. Sadly the burger was so huge that I couldn't eat them all, and everyone else was pretty full too.
One of the ladies in our group also ordered a Lindt chocolate milkshake, and when it arrived I could smell it's chocolatey goodness. She was unable to finish it, it was so rich and huge.
All in all, one of the best burger meals I have ever had, and I'll certainly be revisiting so that I can try some of the other varieties. If you're at South Bank and want a good hearty meal, perfect for before a movie or a big night out, or for a weekend lunch, I definitely recommend trying out Beastie Burgers on Little Stanley Street.
It's been a long time since I went to a school fete. But when my friend Paul told me that the school his boys attend, St Brendan's Catholic Primary School at Moorooka, would be having one this weekend, and that his Beatles tribute band would be playing there, I decided it was time to renew my acquaintance with a good school fete!
It started with a Trash n' Treasure sale in the courtyard of the school. Lots of books, games, clothes, and general bric-a-brac. I picked up these two cute glasses for about 50c.
Then out the back through a fabulous food court that was a true multi-cultural fare. From Sudanese afternoon tea, Vietnamese spring rolls, English strawberries and cream or Devonshire tea, a Tongan barbecue, Ethiopian coffee to a good old Aussie Lions club steak sandwich or sausage sizzle, there was something for everything. It was a fairly breezy day today and the scents being carried throughout the school grounds were absolutely heavenly.
Outside there were the traditional fete stalls. Sweets and cakes, plants, a silent auction, lucky dips and tomobola, face painting, raffles and lock and key games.
But one special new kind of fete stall that I am starting to see pop up at fetes and fairs these days, in our lovely multi-cultural city... a henna tattoo stall.
I've always wanted to have a henna tattoo done. Those of you who know me know that I love the permanent ink, I have three tattoos myself. And while henna tattoos are not permanent, they're a beautiful form of ink body adornment that I've always had a fondness for. So I decided to indulge and have my left hand hennaed.
Beautiful huh? It's even nicer now that it has dried and set.
Finally we settled in to enjoy Paul's band, ironically called "The Beetles". They did a fantastic and fun set of the early Beatles stuff before we had to scoot.
I enjoyed them and so did their audience, which were of all ages.
I really must make the effort to get to more fetes and fairs around this city, they're always such a lovely way to spend a weekend afternoon.
It's been a little while since I talked BrisVegas with y'all, hasn't it? I've actually been working on a few things, but none of them have been up to scratch, so I'll sit on them for a little longer until I'm ready to share it with you all.
Instead, tonight I'm going to talk to you about two things. The first being BTUB, the second being Greystone Bar at South Bank, both of which are now quite firmly linked together.
Let's start with BTUB. For those of you that don't know, BTUB is the Brisbane Twitter community. It stands for Brisbane Twitter Underground Brigade, though now that Twitter is hitting the mainstream, the U can be interchanged for "User". Either way, it's a collective group of Brisbane Twitter users (and any that are visiting to our fair town are welcome too) who use Twitter to meet socially as well as online.
My first involvement with BTUB was a breakfast at the Pancake Manor I went to one morning before work. A handful of people, all guys that particular day, met for breakfast and I tagged along. Everyone was very welcoming and friendly, and I enjoyed meeting new people and having a bit of socialising before work. Since then I've been to cupcakes in New Farm park, various coffees and breakfasts, high tea at the Stamford Plaza and have added the first Friday of the month get together to my regular social calendar.
I'm amazed at the whole BTUB thing. In the past few months I have met so many very cool people, from all kinds of walks of life, age groups, interests and careers. And one common thread I find through the majority of them are that they are lovely open-minded and open-hearted people who welcome anyone to the fold. Not only have I broadened my general social circle, and been able to be part of a bunch of new experiences, but I feel I've made some lovely new friends along the way.
If you're in Brisbane and are looking to expand your social circle, this is the way to do it. If you're not, check if there is a "TUB" for where you are.
Which brings me to Greystone Bar. For the past two months, the regular BTUB "First Friday of the month" social event has been held at Greystone Bar at South Bank. I only went to one at the previous venue, The Ship Inn, and while the space allocated was very good, with plenty of room and lots of seating, it didn't feel like they wanted the custom of this rather large group of paying customers. Which kind of boggles my brain, as it is a good sized group, guaranteed to be spending on both food and drinks, and is a mellow, happy group too. No fights, no bad behaviour, courteous and fun.
But anyway, their loss is our gain. The past two months as I mentioned, the venue has been Greystone Bar in Little Stanley Street, opposite the South Bank Cinemas. And I doubt they could be a more welcoming venue. They actively interact on Twitter with pretty much anyone in Brisbane (well, mostly the lovely Laura from Greystone Bar does all the tweeting!) in a personal, friendly, natural manner. They understand the Twitter community doesn't want to be sold to, and that it's not just about people broadcasting about what they had for breakfast. They welcome the BTUB folks, treat them like valued customers the whole night (not just when they first get them in the door) and welcome them back at any other time with just one friend or a group.
Greystone Bar are welcoming, have a great atmosphere, lots of gorgeous cocktails made with good quality ingredients (no cheap flavourings or mixes) for a reasonable price, as well as all the beer, wine and spirits you can think of, tasty finger foods and lots of comfy seating and heaters for the outdoor areas for those that suffer in what Brisbane calls winter! They also have a finger on the pulse for all of the events happening in and around South Bank. I can highly recommend them.
If you're on Twitter, here are the accounts to follow:
Found myself a nice new coffee spot this morning. Well, not so much found but was introduced to. Met with @lexiphanic, @leesargent and @mirandaforwood to discuss technology/social media in the public service, and this was our meeting place. I believe they have more than one cafe, but we met at the one in Margaret Street in the CBD.
Service was a bit... aloof, but the fruit and pecan toast was delicious, the coffee good and the cafe decor and seating groovy but comfortable. I liked the idea of instead of giving you an order number, you get a playing card (@lexiphanic got the joker).
Went to an AWESOME game of football last night. The Brisbane Lions played the Sydney Swans at the Gabba here in Brisbane, and thanks to a generous friend, I got to go along and see the game live.
We managed to get into the stadium before it started raining, but by the time we got seated it was absolutely bucketing down. We were lucky and had seats up in the nosebleed section, which is all undercover. But I have to say, I don't think there is actually a bad seat in the Gabba, everywhere gives a good clear view of the field. It's only really the weather that makes some areas less desirable, and last night was one of those nights.
It was a ripper of a game too, with the Lions smashing the Swans for the first time in 5 years, 100 to 67. The Lions played a brilliant game, despite the inclement weather, and I had a fantastic time.
One of the things I really like about Brisbane Lions games is the fact that they promote a family friendly atmosphere. Even for the night games, they encourage people to bring their families, and that all ages are welcome to the games. There are licensed areas for those who would like to drink alcohol, but there are also PLENTY of alcohol free areas too for those who don't wish to be around the booze. Which really encourages it to be about more than a piss up over football. I like that.
I can heartily recommend going to a game of Aussie Rules at the Gabba, even if you're not a big fan of football, because it is so much fun you will be a fan before long.
Today I had planned to go to lunch at an Italian restaurant over at Tarragindi, but when we got their they had closed, so instead my friends suggested The Willow over at Moorooka. It's the pub on Beaudesert Road, at the bottom end of the shops.
They have a lovely big "beergarden" area, not really a beergarden but an outdoor kind of deck that is a restaurant. Huge, spacious and cool once all the doors and windows are open, it's a nice area to sit for a Sunday lunch. I ordered the steak sandwich. It was HUGE! Good tender steak (and not a scrawny thin bit either), bacon, egg, cheese, beetroot, onions, tomato and lettuce, served with battered chips and a side salad. The side salad was a tad bland but there was so much of the chips and steak sandwich I couldn't eat everything so I didn't bother about it.
After a couple of hours sitting and talking with friends we decided to have coffee and dessert, so I ordered one of their two dessert choices (they could use a couple more choices really), which was chocolate mud cake with berry coulis and ice cream. Absolutely divine. The mud cake wasn't too sickly but was still fudgy, it was good quality vanilla ice-cream, and the berry coulis was made with real berries. Really scrumptious, and they do a fairly good coffee too.
I really wanted to share this beautiful photo with you all. It was taken by one of the local Tweeters, @iCharlotte and I really liked it, so I asked her if I could share it here on I ♥ BrisVegas.
Doesn't it have an awesome kind of twilight feel to it? (I'm not talking about the sparkly Vampires people!)
I love City Hall. I also love King George Square. I only wish they hadn't put those ugly 50's style buildings in it that lead down to the new bus station. It used to be a fantastic open space, there for all to enjoy, but the bus station buildings just chop it up and hide the square. It's a shame.
Thanks again to Charlotte for this one, if you're interested in seeing more of Charlotte's stuff, she has a Tumblr account HERE.
I figured since I have tried the goods from TWO of Brisbane's cupcake boutiques this weekend, that I had better tell you about them.
Thanks to the Brisbane Twitter group, BTUB, I enjoyed cupcakes in New Farm park with some of my fellow Brisbane tweeters. @shique purchased our cupcakes from two different cupcake boutiques, Poppy Cakes in Fortitude Valley and the Cupcake Parlour at West End.
The Poppy Cakes ones were very good - nice moist cake, sweet icing, cute presentation. I was really excited to see that they have red velvet cupcakes, as red velvet cake is one of my favourite things in the whole world. So of course I had to try one of those. Take a look:
Cute huh? Want a close up? Ok, here you go:
My only criticism is that they weren't authentic red velvet cupcakes simply because the icing was plain vanilla icing. Red velvet cake just isn't red velvet cake without vanilla cream cheese icing. It's just not the real thing. But they were still tasty anyway.
The Cupcake Parlour cakes though... what magnificence! Not only were they totally scrumptious, but every single one was a little work of cupcakey art. Check 'em out:
Gorgeous aren't they? Each one totally individually flavoured with it's own style of decoration. That green one on the bottom right with the pale purple flower? It was apple. This is the one that I had:
I also thought this one was extra pretty:
That little rose is just exquisite.
I will say though, eating two cupcakes was no easy feat. Both types were incredibly sweet (without being sickly) so it was a pretty huge sugar rush afterwards, and then a crash a bit later. I had to go home and find something savoury for dinner to counter all that sugar!
I'll definitely be buying cupcakes from The Cupcake Parlour again, that's for sure.
I finally got a chance to really go and peruse the Jan Power's Farmers Markets in Reddacliff Place, at the top of the Queen Street Mall. They've been on since the beginning of this month, but I have been on holidays, so I hadn't had the chance to go and really take a look yet.
Running on Wednesdays from 11am to 6pm, the markets have everything from fresh fruit and veges, meat, bread, flowers, cheese and other dairy products, smallgoods and some hand crafted goods. From what I could see, most of it was very well priced too.
As it was lunch time, I started out with a cheese kransky from the German sausage stand (slapped into a crusty breadroll with sauerkraut and mustard) to munch on while I had a look around. I picked up a gorgeous ciabatta from the German bread maker (and a cinnamon stick for afternoon tea), some diced pork from one of the butchers, and fresh fruit and veg from some of the produce sellers. I also popped back down at afternoon tea time to pick up some fragrant roses from the stall out on the William Street end, absolutely gorgeous roses for $8 a bunch. I think that may become a regular weekly treat for me.
I'm really glad that they've moved to regular weekly markets right in the CBD. It means I can get fresh, good quality produce at a reasonable price every week, without having to haul myself out to any of the suburban markets on the weekend.
Went to the Girl Geek dinner last night, a group of awesome women who meet up to celebrate, network and encourage geekiness, as well as have some social time. I'll blog more about that on Sleepydumpling's Big Adventure later.
What a little gem of a bistro. Tucked away amongst the shops (as most cafe's and bistros are in West End), Lock n Load has great food, friendly staff, well priced and is a fantastic venue. They have the restaurant downstairs (which had a live jazz trio playing), a garden out the back and then a lovely room upstairs which seats about 30 people, and has a wide screen plasma on the wall perfect for talks and presentations.
The dinner last night had a set menu, with Turkish bread for starters for all, then several choices for mains, and also salad and shoestring fries served to the table for all. I had crispy skinned barramundi with chorizo, potatoes and olives. YUM-O. The barra was beautifully fresh, cooked to perfection (the seasoning on that crispy skin was divine) and the olives and chorizos really offset the mild flavours of the fish and potato.
I really liked the feel of the place too. Relaxed and friendly, and looks like it's been built into an old Queenslander house. The staff were really helpful, the wine was good (and well priced) and the room upstairs a perfect venue for lots of discussion.
I went along with friends and we started the evening with a meal at Wagamama, and then wandered down to Edward Street. On arrival at Metro Arts we handed our Twestival tickets over to receive our programme, a lollipop, a cute little Twestival badge and a $20 Telstra phone away card. Bonus!
My friends and I went down to Verve, the fantastic restaurant in the basement of the Metro Arts building. Now I tell you, if you're in Brisbane, and have never been to Verve, do something about that and go ASAP. Not only is it a great location with heaps of atmosphere, but the food is AMAZING, well priced and plentiful, and they have fantastic fun, relaxed service. The whole crew there are heaps of fun and very friendly. I can highly recommend the blue cheese risotto (I have seen people literally lick their plates) and they have the BEST sticky date pudding I have ever tasted.
We popped down there for a drink before the festivities (or should I say twestivities) started, and I had a rather delicious Sista T cocktail. Behold!
Anyhoo, after a rapidly mind numbing cocktail, we popped upstairs to the studio for the main programme. On the way in we popped into the Lolly Shop stall and bought a few of the cute badges they had there. I quite fell in love with this one, I think you can see why...
They had some fabbo acts on, from local DJ Collapsicon, modern Middle Eastern dancer Moniq, and the AS Theatre who presented an excerpt from their upcoming play "Lazarus Won't Get Out of Bed." I'm definitely going to see that one.
It's not too late to help with raising money through Twestival for Charity: Water. Either follow my links here to the Twestival website, or you can buy the Twestival T-shirt here.
I only wish I could have stayed until the end of the programme, but I was knackered after a rather intense day at work. Oh well, next year!
Twestival is an event organised by the Twitter community across the world for each of their cities, to be held on February 12, which will raise money for Charity:Water.
Each Twestival is different, but the point is to bring the Twitter community of each city together for an evening of fun to help a good cause.
Brisbane Twestival will be held at Metro Arts in Edward Street on Thursday night, and is will have bands, theatre, art auctions, stalls, raffles and goodies for people to enjoy. There is also a Facebook event if you want to have a look there.
I'm really looking forward to going along.
For those of you who don't know about or use Twitter, it's a form of microblogging, where you post up to 140 characters per "tweet" or update. I love Twitter, and tweeting as it is called, has brought me so much cool stuff in my life. Lots of famous people tweet, the most prolific of which would be Stephen Fry (@StephenFry). If you want to have a look at my Twitter account, I am @sleepydumpling.
My friend Kylie B and I went to the Game On exhibit at State Library of Queensland today. I got a free ticket last year when I went to the SLQ Unconference, and I've just been waiting for the opportunity to go.
Game On is an interactive exhibit on the history of video games. As their tagline says, "Play your way through the history of video games."
I don't think I've ever had so much fun going to an exhibit in my life. It's all there, from Pong through to the Nintendo Wii, and you can play about 95% of the consoles, handhelds and arcade machines there. Kylie and I had so much fun playing with the Wii, I have decided to buy one myself. I love the idea of a video game that actually requires activity and movement. We played tennis on it and it really does feel like you're playing tennis. I think even without anyone to play with, I could have fun in my living room just playing against the console. But I fully intend to have Wii parties too.
As well as having all the games there for you to play, you can learn about the music of video games, how the stories and plots of the games are thought up (there is an awesome post-it-note storyboard for Grand Theft Auto), the artwork, the merchandising that goes with them and the actual history of the computing that goes into them.
If you are interested even in the slightest in video games I can highly recommend this exhibit to you, but get in quick because you only have until February 15th!
As well as being Australia Day tomorrow, it is also Chinese New Year. And if you wish to celebrate the wonderful multi-cultural country we are, open to new experiences and celebrating diversity, perhaps instead of eating lamb (which I can't do anyway, I'm allergic) you could go for a Chinese meal somewhere.
On Friday night, I went with a group of fabulous friends to Ben's Chinese-Vietnamese Restaurant at Woolloongabba. All this weekend they are having special celebrations for Chinese New Year, with a special banquet for $39.95, lion dancing, fire crackers and lucky door prizes, as well as their usual karaoke. I normally hate karaoke, but I got a few laughs out of Friday night's efforts.
Ben's is a favourite restaurant of mine in Brisbane, the food is absolutely exquisite there. Their salt and pepper squid is like no other - soft and tender, super fresh with a delicate seasoning that just compliments the squid perfectly. They didn't have it on the banquet on Friday night, but they had salt and pepper quail instead, which was seasoned with almost the same thing. Divine.
I have to say I've never had a bad meal there, and I've been there a lot. The service is always prompt and friendly, the food as I mentioned, divine and the prices are reasonable.
One of the great things about Friday night for us was that we won the lucky door prize at our table. A $40 gift voucher for the restaurant and a bottle of champers. What I really liked was the lovely presentation of the gift voucher, in this lucky envelope.
Yes, the Lifeline Bookfest is on again. That wonder of wonders here in Brisbane where the Convention Centre is thrown open to the booklovers and bargain hunters of the public, and Lifeline sells off all the books, CD's and DVD's that people donate.
Nine days of absolute TONNES of books being up for sale at bargain prices, from best sellers to classics to the obscure. Books from yellowed and old and well loved to almost new condition. Ex library books, books from people having a clean up, or books from deceased estates. LOTS and LOTS of books.
If you love books, I highly advise that you get yourself there, it is running now until Sunday 25th of January.
I am trying to be good and NOT go to the Lifeline Bookfest. Because I have literally boxes and boxes of unread books in my spare room, most of them in new condition, and I've told myself that I am only allowed to purchase one book for every one I read out of the To Be Read (TBR) pile. And no more than that!
As my contribution to Library Lovers Day, my friend Gina and I are organising a picnic lunch at New Farm Park. Nothing formal, just a family friendly lunch in a lovely park here in Brisbane, for like minded library lovers to meet and socialise.
It will be from 11am onwards on Saturday 14th of February, bring your own picnic lunch and something to sit on. Perhaps bring a favourite book or two. And remember to slip, slop, slap.
If you're interested in coming along, please do, but also please remember this is a family friendly event in a public place.
I live over near the new State Tennis Centre at Tennyson. In fact, I live within about 5 minutes walking distance. And of course, the Brisbane International was on this past week.
You can only imagine what the traffic, public transport and parking were like. Let alone the litter, broken bottles and noise.
I live near a church. They had to put chains up across their driveways so that people didn't park in their car park, as they would need it for their services through the week.
Parking is now restricted in our area. The first we residents found out about this was a notice in our mail the day before the deadline to object. My building has limited parking, and now even less because tenants can't park on the street. There were cars parked EVERYWHERE. Dangerously everwhere - we had them right up to our driveway so that their wheels were touching the sides of the driveway, on both sides. Anyone leaving our driveway couldn't see a thing. On one occasion, either side of the driveway was parked a MASSIVE 4WD without a spot of dust on it. Another example of people buying these big cars and not using them for their intended purpose.
There is broken glass all over the neighbourhood. The already dodgy spots on the roads around the neighbourhood were lethal over this weekend. I saw at the train station one day at least 200 people standing on the platforms looking hot and pissed off.
Don't get me wrong, I think the State Tennis Centre is awesome. It looks great, is a world class facility and I am really looking forward to being able to walk to events there.
However, how about some more planning into the infrastructure and the livability of the residents in the area? How about repairing the disgusting state of Citytrain's service to this area? Or adding some more buses instead? Making parking reasonable and keeping the tennis centre parking out of the residential areas. Allowing the residents to live safely and comfortably when big events are on.
Like everything else that happens in this city, infrastructure is neglected around it. Come on Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council, isn't it about time you learned from past mistakes?
The weather bureau was touting 37C here in Brisbane today. I reckon it got that and more. It was 36C in my living room at about lunch time, and I am sure it would have been hotter out in the sun. I hope people looked after themselves with lots of water, sunscreen, shade and sunglasses in this very harsh heat.
I was going to go to a movie, but nothing really appealed to me. Wasn't sure what else I could do to get out of the heat. The local swimming pool would have been chaos, it's New Years Day so no shops are open, and I'm quite sure my friends with air conditioning are getting sick of me already.
What do you do when it gets unbearably hot (and you don't have air-con yourself)? Is there somewhere you escape to? What do you do to entertain yourself and keep yourself cool?