Tag Archive for 'beer'

If you know you know, otherwise it’s just a beer



Cross Keys – closed

Cross Keys - closed

Cross Keys - closed

Beer festival

CAMRA beer festival

CAMRA beer festival


Bikes outside Cambridge Blue on Sunday

Bikes outside Cambridge Blue on Sunday

Fen Ditton

The beauty of the UK is that everything is so close you can go for a walk to a nearby village. You might even have a pub lunch when you get there…

Fen Ditton thatched cottage

Fen Ditton thatched cottage

St Patricks Day

St Paddy's 2009

St Paddy's 2009

Wednesday at Hopbine

Go to the Hopbine on a Wednesday night, if you see these guys you’ll hear some hot blues to make up for the crappy selection of beer and half arsed Americana style decor. Totally worth it in my view.

Wednesday night at Hopbine

Wednesday night at Hopbine


“Let’s Just F*#%ing Vote Already!” Thank you Magic Hat, for saying what everyone’s thinking…



I’m a big fan of the b-side lounge, and the b-sidecar…



They also have excellent mac ‘n’ cheese. Yum

Perth is expensive: 4

After the day of talks we went out for a few beers and dinner. I paid over $7 for a schooner, and over $8 for a pint. Ouch. It was nice sitting outside at least…

Belgian beer cafe in Perth

Perth is weird: 1

I’m in Perth for a week attending the Astronomical Society of Australia’s Annual Scientific Meeting. Holiday in WA!

We got in Saturday night, our cheap apartments turned out to be just that. Some cabbie volunteered the information that it might be frequented by people who used the rooms, but not for the whole night…

We cruised over to Northbridge for a few drinks. Not the classiest of districts but we managed. We sat in a part of a bar that was also a bottle store. So sitting with a few beers next to a fridge and rows of wine bottles.

More to come…


So walking out of the Sam Adams brewery tour, we were coaxed in the back door of the 2008 NEBSRA Winter Nationals. Free beer and loads of entertainment. (NEBSRA = New England Belt Sander Racing Association)

There’s a collection of videos here.


Aussie day

Australia day (try googling “invasion day“) was celebrated in proper tradition on Saturday, with footy on tv, at the Phoenix Landing, pies, and beer. Later Jill had a party with copious amounts of Australiana, like pav, koalas, coopers, and vegemite. Nice.

nz/australian invention


There are some clever ads on tv over here. Unfortunately they don’t always advertise products I would endorse or purchase. Here’s an excellent example from Bud


Olympus MF-1 OM adapter

So Christmas has been a great time for sitting in front of the TV doing pretty much nothing. It’s also a time to drink some beer and play with my camera. I am fortunate to have in my possession an old 50mm f3.5 zuiko OM macro, and to use it I went and bought the adapter Olympus have to use these old lenses on the new digital SLR’s. Really there’s little to review. At about US$100 it’s a pretty expensive annulus, which is rather tight to get both onto my E500 and the lens, but it’s fun, and worth it if you have old OM lenses you want to bring in to the digital age.

I haven’t used a macro much, but here’s part of the sticker on one of my favourite Magic Hat beers…

mmmm Magic Hat beer, fresh from Vermont

I also too a few photos of the cats we have here, and the good ol’ National Geographic world map.

where I live right now

New York

After a night of Manhattans and Nic’s home brew, I dragged myself off to South Station and headed for New York (again). The purpose being a few days hanging with old Massey mates Todd and Nick. Arriving in Chinatown, I headed north in the hope of seeing someting interesting before meeting up with the others.

First I stumbled upon a footbag (what we call hacky, but they’re good) competition. Those dudes were unbelievable, though looked rather cold in shorts and t-shirts.

people watching hacky, mostly

We were staying at some crazy place near Times Square, so had a look at the place before heading down to Ludlow St for a pub crawl. The bars there are nice, not too trendy or expensive (for NY), and most importantly very close to each other. They guys were a little jet lagged however, and we were home by a respectable 1am or so.

bright lights, etc.

In the cold light of the new day we wandered up to Central Park for a few band photos, and caught the subway down toward Chinatown for Nick to buy a handbag.

tree reflected in a tile

It was funny to see the people hocking fake Louis Vuitton bags, and hastily packing up their suitcases when police looked like coming by. Now I know what random dodgy looking people trundling suitcases around have in them.

from afar

We carried on down to see the huge Staten Is. queue, and take some pics of a very small Statue of Liberty. We stopped by Ground Zero, and took some photos through holes in the fence. The place is still a complete mess, as you might expect from such a massive project.

ex Twin Towers site

That done, we made our way back up to Times Sq area for some beers. Dinner was BBQ in a huge place, probably seated 500 at a time or something. Our food was good, and came fast… mmmm

Monday was hometime, good ol’ Chinatown bus. The rest of the photos are here.

Cape Cod

Talk about your impromptu trips… Arriving home somewhat inebriated on Friday night, I booked a rental car for Sunday with vague plans of going somewhere, and sent a few invites. On Saturday I found that Fall isn’t really over yet, and decided Cape Cod would be a nice, near, new place to visit. Jill and Liz thought the same, so early Sunday we set off.

The car was a bit flasher than usual this time, with heated seats. Unfortunately the stereo was a little dated, not having an iPod jack. We managed to survive and overcome this deficiency by talking…

By the time we were on the Cape itself, it was getting a little ten o’clockish (as Pooh would say). We picked about the only place that looked open in Barnstable and wandered in for an excellent breakfast of eggs benedict. I’ve never been anywhere to eat where everyone got the same thing before.

Going in search of typical and interesting Cape Cod experiences, we first stopped at a beach. Being the time of year it is it was a little fresh out, and the water was pretty much as cold as it looked. We walked along it for a while anyway.

Jill and Liz at the beach

Next up was a more local experience, as we stopped at a road side barn sale. There was pretty much just junk for sale, and we pondered different means by which the purveyors of said junk had come to be in its possession. Perhaps by purchasing junk from the ubiquitous American “antique” shop? We didn’t think there was any way a person could acquire such a lamp collection by accident…

After passing a little lake in Nickerson State Park, we moved on to the Cape Cod National Seashore to tick off a lighthouse. We found it easily thanks to the excellent signage.

Lighthouse in national seashore

Continuing, and getting a little hungry, we went to the tip of the Cape to the lovely Provincetown. Being near the coast we had to have some seafood. I had fish and chips and a beer, yum. We walked off our late lunch by climbing to the top of the Pilgrim monument. The sign said a measly 112 steps, but I’m not sure that it explicitly said that most of the altitude is gained by walking up a big square spiral ramp.

BIG spiral ramp thing

The view from the top was nice, if a little breezy…

With the day nearly gone, we drove to the top end of the Cape for a quick photo before returning to the warmth of the car for the drive back to Boston.

Beach at the top of Cape Cod

We encountered some traffic at a few points, but nothing bad. Apparently the population of Provincetown grows from a few thousand, to something like 60,000 in summer, so I think we had it pretty easy. After a few glimpses of the sunset as we drove along random roads to avoid the traffic, we hit the highway proper.

The rest of the photos are here.

Boston-Orlando road trip

Oh yeah. Hot on the heels of my Peruvian adventure, and having Pete and Mary visit, Halvar and I drove to Orlando to have a few beers with Jose for my birthday. And by Halvar and I, I mean I drove, and he took photos out the window.Starting on Thursday morning, we headed out to Canton, home of the Autodriveaway Co’s local office. The hope was to pick up a 2002 Taurus destined for Greensboro, NC. I’d been watching the National Carlist for several months in the hope that something would come up, and a few days before we were destined to leave, up popped the Taurus. It turned out that getting approved was quite simple. The ACT DMV people were quick and helpful in supplying me with a drivers record (as they were when I renewed my licence recently), the essential thing for aproval. Talking to the driveaway guy, it turns out that overseas folks are way easier to process, since he doesn’t have potential access to the same wealth of information that exists for Americans. Lucky us.

Rhode Island, Ocean State (license plate tagline): With a potential twelve states to visit along the way, we wasted no time in getting down to Rhode Island for some breakfast/lunch. We ended up at the “Liberty diner” for some good honest cooked breakfast. The name inspired the thing we needed to do in each state, which was something to do with something patriotic. Eating at a place with liberty in the name counts. Having ticked off Rhode Is. we headed on to Connecticut.

Connecticut, Consitution State: I’m not sure how patriotic it was, but we stopped at Hammonassett Beach in Connecticut for a look (I didn’t know there was an extra ‘c’ in Connecticut!). There were lots of reasonably large, very tanned people lounging around as it they had nothing better to do, which I suspect they didn’t. Having ticked off Connecticut we headed on to New York.

New York, The Empire State: We didn’t really do anything in New York. We’ve both been there so it wasn’t in need of a ticking off. We were in Pennsylvania before we knew it.

Pennsylvania, visitPA. com (what? that’s crap!): PA got the full patriotic treatment from us, since we drove across a fair chunk of it, and stayed the night at a campground. We stopped for a stretch at a lake the first evening, where a hot air balloon flew right over us. It had an American flag on the basket, which was pretty patriotic. The lake was pretty too…

A lake in PA

We stayed the night at a nice campground, and went for a walk the next morning. It was a pretty small park, so hunters could only use bows and arrows, black powder, and shotguns. Thankfully noone tried them out on us, despite our ignoring the signs instructing us to wear bright orange. We drove on to Gettysburg. There is this whole route one can drive around that takes hours, and goes past dozens of battlefield and historic sites. We stopped at a couple, but there were too many and we had other states to visit. Having thoroughly done Pennsylvania, we moved on to Maryland.

A nation united?

Maryland, ?: Our visit to Maryland was brief, but we made sure to stop at the welcome center and admire the state flag. Having not really ticked off Maryland, we managed to get a bit of West Virginia, since we’d long ago decided it was going to be a bit much of pain to go through Delaware.

West Virginia, Wild, Wonderful: We were only in West Virginia for a while, but stopped by the Shenandoah river for a bit of a walk. We also caught a covered bridge along the way. West Virginia done, we moved onto Virginia proper.

Rail tracks near the Shenandoah river in West Virginia

Virginia, ?: We arrived into Virginia later in the evening, and proceeded to find a campsite to stay at. Somewhere along the way we stopped at pub for a beer and some pub food. The girl couldn’t really understand me, and exclaimed something like “You’re accent’s different!”, as if that were a highly improbable thing. It was well dark when we arrived at the campsite, and we were tired so we set up and went to bed. The next morning we drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a nice bit of road through forest on the edge of the Appalachian mountains. There weren’t any really good looking breakfast places around, so we dropped into a Food Lion for some donuts and turnovers. Virginia done, we moved on to North Carolina.

North Carolina, First in Flight: After driving down the parkway, we arrived in North Carolina, and headed to Greensboro to drop off our car. We drove all the way to the owners house, a suburban mansion somewhere in the ‘burbs. Though the house was nice, it looked just like all the others, as is so commonly the way in these places. He was kind enough to drop us out the airport, where we picked up our rental. Greensboro was about halfway, 900 miles from Boston. With our new iPod compatible rental, we cruised on down towards Charleston.

South Carolina, Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places: The first thing we caught in SC was Dizzy Gillespie’s birthplace, in the little town of Cheraw. We felt it important that we eat some southern food, so stopped for a bbq buffet. The ribs were marinated in vinegar and other things, very nice. Nearer Charleston, we hunted out a campsite, but not after driving around the national park past several map marked campsites. Eventually we happened to spot an unlit sign, and pulled off for another great nights sleep. We awoke to a misty forest in the morning, with an irresistible fenced off tower to climb for a nice view of the local forest.

View from the top of the tower

From the campsite we drove on down toward Charleston, taking a detour to see some swamp dwelling wildlife. At some pont we found a confederate flag on the side of the road (the one on the car roof of the General Lee). Going into Charleston we went over a HUGE bridge that disappeared into the fog. We stopped at the ubiquitous Huddle House for some food, just to be sure we were being patriotic, and then headed on to Savannah, Georgia, which also had a pretty large bridge leading into it.

Georgia, ?: The first thing to do in Savannah was head out to the Crab Shack for some seafood. We ordered the massive seafood platter for two, a margarita, and soaked up the atmosphere. After our feed we said hello to the alligators, but it was getting late so we headed off.

‘gators at the Crab Shack

We were hoping to drop by Okefenokee swamp for a look at some real size alligators, but a ring ahead told us that there had been a fire earlier in the year, which rendered the boardwalk and observation tower unusable. We instead headed along the coast, and stopped at a much smaller reserve. This place was still pretty impressive, we saw some baby alligators, and then a real size one hiding in the algae choked water. We were approached by a seemingly deaf and blind armadillo, which didn’t run away until it was close enough to hear my camera taking pictures of it. We also saw storks, herons, large spiders, and squillions of mosquitoes and other bitey insects.

Upon leaving the park we found another gem, the Smallest Church in America. A little non-denominational shack, we couldn’t resist a photo stop. That done, we headed on down toward Florida.

Florida, Sunshine State: Time was getting on by the time we reached Jacksonville, so we made sure we got a little confused and crossed the river five times on three separate bridges. They were rather nicely lit up in blue, with one sporting a particularly large American flag in lights. We headed on down to Canaveral to meet Jose, arriving about 11:30, just in time for the purchase of some $4 “Icehouse” beers to celebrate my birthday.

The next morning was time to head for the airport. We could see the famous NASA space shuttle building as we drove along. In a photo Jose showed us, the doors were open halfway up, which is enough for the space shuttle to get out. Massive. Arriving at the airport we almost had a disaster, no petrol station! Thankfully my guess of going down some random road turned one up in ten minutes, thus saving us a threefold increase in the cost of gas that rental companies impose. The car had around 900 miles on it, making the trip a grand total of over 1800 miles.

We flew back to Boston, safe in the knowledge that we could claim a bunch of states, without really having done anything in any of them. The rest of the photos are here.

Peru: Lima

So begins the epic tale of my adventures in Peru… and the journey there, which began with a nice sunrise at Logan.

Sunrise at Logan airport

The trip started with an early morning flight from Logan to Miami, where I had a wonderful five hour wait. There wasn´t much to do there, aside from wander around and sleep on some of the armless chairs along the walk to Terminal E. There were plenty of impressive clouds as is probably normal in such a tropical place. Afternoon thunderstorms and showers are probably the norm, though I missed the one that particular afternoon since it happened as I was dozing.

Clouds at Miami airport

The flight to Lima was uneventful, with very little to see out the window since it was largely dark and over ocean. I filled out some forms that were mostly in spanish. I think the translations weren’t quite right, but my tiny lonely planet dictionary wasn’t quite up to helping me. Upon arrival, I was tired enough to get ripped off, paying American prices for a taxi to the hotel. I made it there safe however, and found I had an upgraded room for the night. It was late but I couldn´t resist using the spa bath before getting some sleep. The other feature of the upgrade room was an alarm clock, no other room for the rest of the trip had one.

I had the whole next day to myself, and used it to sleep in, and wander around the tourist center that is Miraflores. There were paragliders using the onshore breeze and coastal cliffs, and kids playing soccer on the beach below. Watching them play makes it quite clear why South American football teams are so good when the kids are as good as anyone I´ve seen. In the evening I met up with the rest of the tour group, and our leader Tito took us to dinner. After dinner, some Cusqueña, and Pisco sour, and then some more beer it was then end of my first day in a completely new continent. My travel buddy Michelle arrived late in the evening, and thankfully doesn’t mind that I was stil out having beers when she arrives.

Our group went to the center of Lima in the morning, catching a local bus. The local buses (colectivos) are simply vans, that are everywhere, with a guy shouting the destination out the open door as they pass. The taxis are almost exclusively old Corrolla wagons, Toyotas are very popular here. The other taxi vehicle is a little Daihatsu. Petrol ranges from USD$3-$6 a gallon, so only small cars are affordable for most people. Upon arrival at the center of town, we walked past San Martin square, and saw the bar where the first Pisco sour was apparently made. More walking took us past some old churches, and past some government center where the guard was changing under the watchful eye of yet more guards with big guns. Unfortunately the museum we were hoping to visit was closed for the day, but it was still a worthwhile excursion to see some of Lima outside Miraflores.

In the afternoon we went for lunch in the tourist mall by the beach. Good food and a great view of the ocean. After lunch we wandered along the beach again, and had an afternoon rest. In the evening we had some great avacado based food, and a drink at a nice corner cafe, at least 50 meters away from the most touristy bits.

The Lima coast in Miraflores

The next day was the real start of the trip, travelling to Puno. We flew to Juliaca via Cusco, and then went by bus to Puno. We arrived kind of late in the afternoon, so it was about time for dinner when we arrived. This was the point at which I realised I was without my wallet… probably lost when I took some photos of mountains we flew over.

Some mountains from the plane

We went and had dinner, and the time after that before bed was spent on the phone trying to cancel my AMEX and VISA. I was mostly successful, getting it all sorted by the next morning thanks to a helpful flatmate.

After breakfast it was time to head out onto Lake Titicaca. I´ll put that in next! The Lima photos are here.

Many things

Ok so long story short:

Peru: awesome. more to write on what I did there. over 600 photos beginning to get posted, probably 10 good ones…

Road trip: drove to Florida with Halv to visit Jose. passed sights such as America’s smallest church and Dizzy Gillespie’s birthplace. many silly photos to be posted, probably no good ones.

School: what’s that? new planet paper coming to an arXiv near you soon. devil in details as usual.

Turning 30: celebrated near Kennedy Space Center with Jose and Halv by drinking “Icehouse” beer that cost $4 for a six pack at 2am this morning after 1800 miles and twelve states in two cars from Boston. I’m not sure if I’ll celebrate by keeping or removing my terrible moustache.

Updates/stories/photos as I get back to normal, if I can remember what that is.



I’m exhausted. My weekend trip to visit Amanda in Chicago turned into a tour of some of the local drinking establishments… with a little sightseeing thrown in on the side. I also left my mobile phone in a shuttle, so am phoneless.

I arrived slightly later than planned on Friday. My flight out of Boston was delayed by some gum on a seatbelt, and I consequently missed my connecting flight by a few minutes (despite running and skipping the security queue). I was put on the next flight about ten minutes later thankfully. I caught the Omega shuttle down to the University of Chicago’s area of Hyde Park. Being on the south side, Hyde Park is something of an oasis of middle class surrounded by poor/rough neigbourhoods. There are certain streets one just doesn’t go past…

We started the late afternoon with free post-doc beers (one), and a few greasy fries. The evening saw us off toward Wicker Park, a popular eating and drinking area. We first sat outside at a bar for a pre-dinner drink (two), and then had some pizza and beer around the corner (three). We only got the medium size pizza, since the large ones were about the size of a table. Following dinner we met up with some others at a generic loud bar with lots of televisions (four), before moving on to a German place (five). This was one of those places that serves 1 liter steins. More curiously it had aussie rules footy on one of the tv’s.

this tee shirt is popular everywhere!

We were eventually kicked out (at closing), but since we weren’t done we went on to a blues bar (six) until they finished up too. Don’t ask how we got home, well to where we stayed anyway since we didn’t make it home…

We headed back to Hyde Park via town, using the “L” for a tour around the town loop. Being a few floors off the street, the train is a great way to see some of the buildings in the middle of the city. The Chicago River runs through the middle of town, and looks very cool with skyscrapers rising from right next to it, and being crossed regularly with old iron bridges.

The next evening started quietly, with good food and a beer at a restaurant (seven). We then started our tour of some more local bars, hosted by local Ken. He first took us to what looked to me like the American “idea” bar (eight), where we started on some of the incredibly cheaply priced midwestern beer. Next was a very local feeling place (nine), where we sat outside on plastic chairs at plastic tables and drank margaritas from plastic cups. After that was a place with lots of Elvis stuff on the walls (ten), but also other junk. Apparently there was another New Zealander, but my Flight of the Conchords tee didn’t draw them out… The last bar of the evening (eleven) had $3.25 gin and tonic. We made it home after giving a taxi driver blow-by-blow directions, which is a little odd in a city set out like a grid with numbered streets.

Sunday started slowly, but we eventually made it toward town, and walked up to some beaches. Hunger drove us to a bar (twelve!) for some meat and a beer. We went to another local person’s house for a bit of a wine tasting party after that, before heading home much in the same manner as Saturday night (i.e. giving directions to a Taxi driver).

some tall buildings

Thanks Amanda for an awesome weekend!

A few more photos are here. There are also some from drinking wine on Sunday night here.

Next stop Chicago.

Man life is busy. I’ve had Julie visiting this week, on the tails of my trip to New York, and tomorrow I go to Chicago for the weekend. I’m still not sure I’ve recovered from NY or the Adirondacks! We went to my local, the Thirsty Scholar, for a few beers last night, and to the famed Neighbourhood Restaurant for brekkie this morning. I highly recommend it as a weekday breakfast place. The pace is still relaxed, there’s noone else there, and the grape vines are covered with bunches of grapes hanging down. They’re open from 7am…


Adirondacks trip

Despite having been there for three days, I still feel an urge to call the place the Adrionacks. I have no idea why.

So on Friday I picked up my rental, which I called my Sega Saturn, since it felt rather like a small toy. However, the kind people at Alamo have scored 2/2 with places to plug my ipod into the stereo, nice!

I drove off toward upstate NY a bit after lunchtime, in the hope of catching a few covered bridges in Vermont on the way. I was quickly rewarded, seeing one (number 1 in fact) in New Hampshire before I even got near Vermont. I picked up another before leaving covered bridge country for some state park in the bottom left of Vermont. I found my way up towards Ticonderoga, where I thought I’d have a quick look at the fort there, before heading on to my campsite.

a very New England thing

Unfortunately I hadn’t checked things out, and my map was none the wiser (if I’d looked closer I would have been fine). One can’t actually drive across Lake Champlain to get to Ticonderoga. There is a ferry! Not being accustomed to these things I wasn’t expecting it… It turns out I’d also arrived 15 minutes after the ferry closed for the day so missed out there, and drove another half our to go the landlubber’s route.

Fort Ticonderoga was closed, being a 9-5 kind of fort, so I took some pictures of the moon and the lake instead. I then went on to Rogers Rock campground, situated on the shores of Lake George and near the top end of the beautiful route 9N. Nothing much eventful happened at the campground. I saw a firefly which was cool.

The next day I drove along the lake down route 9N, hoping to see as much as possible before the forecast crappy weather set in. I made it all the way up to Newcomb for a walk near the Visitor Center before it started to drip. I was constantly harassed by bugs on that walk, and covered my silly straw hat (see here) in DEET, and wore it, from that point on. I had lunch at Long Lake, and continued up to Lake Placid (I didn’t see any crocodiles), proud home of two (count ’em) winter Olympics.

hazy hills along Lake George

The town itself is a typical American tourist trap, but there are some cool things nearby. Whiteface Mountain has a ski field on it, so I thought I’d go have a look. I was astonished at the size of it, mainly since I knew it is about the same height as the peaks I was planning on scaling the next day. Feeling a little shaken, I thought I conquer this one by driving, after my nice Mt Washington experience of peaks with roads.

I paid my $9 (Mt Washington = $20) and cruised up. There are nice views of Lake Placid and the general area, but the coolest things are a castle at the top of the road, and an elevator the rest of the way! Being a typical mountain in its geometry, the elevator base is a hundred meters or so into the hill. Very cool. Unfortunately it was very cool and totally cloudy at the top so all I saw was a sign saying how high Whiteface Mtn is.

By now the day was waning, so I drove towards my campsite, stopping past the Ausable Club to check out the starting point for the next day. I stayed at Sharp Bridge for the night, the highlight being sitting in my car with a few beers listening to the pouring rain.

Sunday started all foggy, and off I went to bag me some peaks… (which is another story).

The drive back after my epic trek was rather long, slow, and boring. I took some photos of a nice sunset somewhere along the 2East, and got back about midnight.

my new lens has funny reflections in it

Excellent trip, the rest of the photos are here.

Fear not…

…for I am with thee (Isaiah 43:5, and other translations).

However, it looks like there’s still hope for the godless among us, thanks to some clever scientists who have found a “pathway for extinction of contextual fear” in (presumably godless) mice.

Being able to do the most fearful things, like asking a girl out for example, may be simpler in the future when the cure for fear comes out. If it comes as a tasty liquid medicine, and avoids side effects such as loss of the ability to operate heavy machinery, then it just might replace the current favourite for fearful situations. Only time will tell whether it’ll retail for $7.95 and be as good as a Long Trail Hefeweizen…


Ok dudes, I think I need help…

I’m totally addicted, to cheese. Not just any type of cheese, but what is known here as ‘jack’, or pepperjack cheese. To be specific, there is a habanero cheese my local foodmaster sells that I eat waaaay to much of. I’ve never encountered such a food before, who would have thought that there would be a cheese that goes with beer..? It can also come in burgers, which is another problem altogether…

More visitors

I’ve now had my second set of visitors. Nick and Michele of “Nick and Michele’s wedding“, and “Road Tripping through Georgia” fame came up to search for a place to live. They found a nice place to live in the South End, and we celebrated by going to the nearest gay bar and having a beer. We got table service, but had to pay for our three beers right away. Weird. We went along the road to a more “informal” place for another few, before going up to Redbones for meat.

Other weekend highlights included walking along the Charles, and breakfast at the Neighbourhood restaurant. Thanks for a cool weekend guys!

Niagara Falls

So as part of my long weekend trip to Toronto, we went down to Niagara Falls for the afternoon. It’s only an hour or so drive so quite easily a day trip. Along the way we stopped near St Catherine’s for lunch at Treadwell, a nice new restaurant with nice food from local sources. I also had a nice beer, made by Great Lakes Beer I think.

Arriving in Niagara, we drove down the main street, which is a total smorgasbord of gaudy signs, and random tourist attractions. I’m sorry not to have a photo, but I was driving my rental.

The falls themselves are spectacular. About ten times as much water goes over the Canadian falls as the American ones, and the best place for viewing both is on the Canadian side. The Americans have built a tower/walkway that extends out over the river to get a better look at theirs.

About 6000 cubic meters of water goes over the falls each second. That’s a bit over 1 sydharb/day in standard Australian units, and it’s beautiful!

niagara falls + people

The rest of the pics are here.

God bless America

God has indeed blessed America, clearly humans are helpless to do anything to influence their surroundings by themselves. Gratitude for said blessing manifests itself in many ways, the most conspicuous of which can be seen below. There are probably others, but this one appealed to me more than the multitude of churches this wonderful country harbours.

god bless pizza boxes and all they contain

There are many things that god has blessed this country with. Here are a few personal highlights:

One of my favourites is the ability to get a huge piece of meat in a burger pretty much anywhere I go, I think I’m addicted. In a totally unrelated matter, there are tonnes of micro-breweries that allow one to get good beer, which may sometimes be a precursor to the aforementioned chunks of meat.

I like that my local supermarket (known as “Johnnies Foodmaster”) has that nice Barillia pasta for about $1 a packet.

I can watch baseball anytime I like. The Red Sox play pretty much every day, and NESN shows previous games even when they’re not. Thank you lord.

Despite my preconceptions of the locals, people generally think pre-emtive strikes are a bad idea. Driving through Southwest Harbour in Maine there were a bunch of people by the side of the road with signs saying things like “join us if you are concerned about the war in Iraq”. I didn’t even though I am concerned. I had some hills to climb and views to see. Anyway, very non-confrontational, and an interesting thing to see on a Saturday morning in rural America.

There are lots of cool places to visit from my base here in Boston, I have the aim of visiting a new state for each month I’m here. Other countries and their states count. So far I’m on track, ticking off Georgia, Maine and New Hampsire in the three months to date.

It’s green, and the trees aren’t all eucalyptus.

It’s old, not Europe old, but older than I’m used to nevertheless. This doesn’t have much to do with being blessed by god but I like it anway.

I really do like burgers.


Local music

Something I like about a number of the bars I go to around here is live music. I’m not sure if I’m just being inspired (read dragged along) by others, or if there really are more good bands playing here.

Last night we went to a CD release gig. Sam Bigelow is a local guy who plays piano and has a band. There was a lot of slow ballad type stuff, but my favourites where the good old fashioned twelve-bar blues numbers… speaking of blues, when I was in Atlanta a few months ago we saw a good band who came from Boston.

The next bar we went to (the Toad, someone told me it’s the basis for the hypnotoad in futurama, but I’m not sure. I can’t find any evidence on the web) had another good band, with a duelling guitar/fiddle duo.

Anyway, good live music in this country…

Snow and cricket

Today it snowed. A lot. In fact it’s still snowing outside right now. There is a nice little snow bank building up next to the fence and there’s a weird light outside as if the sun didn’t quite go all the way down.

I left school a bit after 2pm and watched the second innings of NZ vs. England live from the Caribbean in a reasonably warm bar with cold beer. I can now say I’ve trekked through snow to watch cricket…

halv + snow

This is Halvar outside after the game. He’s doing thumbs up because we beat the poms.

Sydney Big Day Out 07

I went to my first Big Day Out this week and it was huge! Thousands upon thousands (~55,000 in fact) of flag wearing Aussies made their way to the home of the 2000 Olympics to watch such acts as Muse, Tool, Jet, Lily Allen, John Butler etc. etc. I had a lovely day though was a little sore in the back by the time we got back to the hostel at about 2am.

We arrived nice and early, having already visited ATMS, thus avoiding any transport and 50m ATM queue woes. The audio provided by Jands was largely impressive, the stacks of 760’s in the Boiler Room sounded as clear and solid as anything I’ve heard before.

My favourite act of the day is hard to pick. James Taylor played some nice breaks, though very early in the day unfortunately. John Butler and his Trio had a banner saying ‘Nuclear Free Australia’ and encouraged people to vote in between paying an excellent set. Muse were awesome and energetic, with a good light show to go with. Tool were ok though I’m not a major fan… Shapeshifter have a singer now, and still at their best sans singer going fast with talented drummer and loud synth riffs.

Other highlights include the shiny solar-powered ‘Clubtainer’ in Lilyworld, and the walk-in pinhole camera…

After such a long day, we went for BK back in town and a wind-down beer at a quiet pub. Thanks Mary, Sayuri, Wolfi, and Emma for a rock ‘n’ roll day.

Photo will appear here soon.

cricket: game three

This week saw our way to an easy victory, and my first catch of the season! I started out very shaky with the ball wobbling in a disturbing way after passing the bat, and giving myself a rather blue finger. I had it together by the time the first catch came however…

Three more catches followed as we kept the opposition to a paltry 129. Our pom Ian smashed 28 off a single over on his way to 75 not out and an early beer when we finished around 4:30.

Running stats:
batting total: 56
average: 28
catches dropped: 1
catches gloved: 4
byes: about 10
bruises: 4
times fainted: 0

dodgeball champions!

Having played a paltry 5 or so games of dodgeball to date, someone appears to have felt sorry for us and gave us a ‘consolation grand final’ to play yesterday.

We certainly rose to the occasion, though got off to a bit of a slow start. By the final quarter we had the game wrapped up with three consecutive ‘sixes’ and a finale score of 25-9.

Our prize was a jug of ‘something’, though we presumed this excluded the top shelf. In light of the night before this was probably a good thing anyway. We got it filled with coke…

We also got real prizes. We are now the proud owners of a Hahn beer glass (which came with a free refill…) and a school bag.