Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Seriously Good Advice

The lyrics to Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen, by Mary Schmich:
Wear sunscreen.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.
Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.
Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.
Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.
Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.
Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.
Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.
Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.
Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lamb Souvlaki Par Excellence

MB & MDR enjoyed a super lamb souvlaki in New Norfolk at "Number 10 on High Street", a cafe opened last July by Majella who hails from the Darling Downs in Southern Queensland.  The souvlaki was very generous in size, hot and packed with succulent lamb, a real winner.

Island Markets

Dropped into Island Markets this afternoon on the way back into Hobart from New Norfolk.  MB was lured there by the invitation on their website to "Come and see olive oil being produced at Island Markets."  The pair walked around the ragtag building looking for the olive press, eventually asking a shop assistant in the food shop where it was, she didn't know and neither did her colleague, she directed us to the foodstore manager who offered to ask the complex manager.  We followed at a distance and complex manager who looked like the lovechild of Telly Savales told foodstore manager he didn't have the key and "just tell them it's closed".  Foodstore manager came to tell us but we'd heard it all.  Couldn't get out of there fast enough!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Morello Cherries

Finally got to taste fresh Morello cherries from a pick your own orchard in Plenty, north west of Hobart. Quite tart in taste and a lovely change from "regular" cherries


The pair hosted MDR's niece, Poochie, and her mum last week as Poochie has enrolled in a BA degree at the University of Tasmania.  Poochie will be living on campus at Jane Franklin Hall and after a tour of Poochie's digs MB is thinking of enrolling too!
The Hall is located in a very ritzy part of Sandy Bay with sweeping views of Hobart and the harbour, surrounded by gorgeous Georgian sandstone mansions, well done Poochie.


The duo are loving their accommodation at Werndee, just north of Hobart CBD. The property has an orchard groaning with stonefruit, berries, figs etc and guests are welcome to enjoy the bounty. Pictured above are greengages, a type of plum, very sweet & delicious straight off the tree.
The property has a federation mansion which was built by the first premier of Tasmania, plus two cottages and a block of 4 very well appointed holiday units.
The hosts, Jan & Robyn, are hospitality heroes, never has MB felt so welcome.

Wooden Boat Festival Hobart

MDR had a ball at the biennial WBF in Hobart on Regatta Day weekend 11-14 Feb 2011.  MB was a little ambivalent about this festival but it was free and nicely located on the docks at Hobart which is an easy stroll from the city.  The festival turned out to be wonderful, with contigents from Indonesia and Japan, great music, nice food options, boat building classes for children and lots of other great kids' activities and last but not least loads of old and new beautiful wooden boats of all shapes & sizes.
The Indonesians were selling fantastic chicken sate and the Japanese from Yaizu (sister city to Hobart) were doing demonstrations of handmade soba using Tassie buckwheat, okonomiyake, tea ceremony etc. and MB was able to sample all.  While MB was taking a photo of a buckwheat plant she looked closely at the guy standing next to it and it turned out to be Tetsuya, he was at the Festival giving cooking demonstrations as well.
The festival really had something for everyone and must be one of Australia's premier events, MB ended up spending two days there, MDR did all 4 days as he was also helping a mate who had a trade display there.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fruit Wine Festival

Luckily MDR heard this show being spruiked on the local ABC radio on Saturday.  The Sorrell Branch of the Rotary Club put on a great event at the very pretty Bellerive waterfront.  For $9.50 you could sample as much fruit wine as you could drink.  There were over 110 varieties including banana and coffee liqueurs from Mt Uncle Distillery near Cairns.  The sun was shining and the music was good, a band doing great Sinatra covers. PTA loved June Allsop's number 61, banana liqueur declaring it tasted just like banana fritter, which it surprisingly did.  MDR loved number 97, Wayne Hewett's strawberry liqueur, the colour, fragrance & taste were out of this world.
Picture above is the rear end of an old ferry which is jutting out of the side of a nearby waterfront bar.

Hobart Farmers' Market

A great haul was had this morning from the one of the best farmers' markets in Tassie.  The team are eating very well indeed.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tasvegas Vacation - Day 1

After an epic journey to Hobart yesterday the team arrived at their digs in Sandy Bay around 9:45pm. 
MDR & MB had a 5 hour stopover in Melb so they went to the Qantas Club only to find that MDR's membership had lapsed, the gatekeeper however took pity on him and allowed the pair in "this time". MDR then sashayed his way into the Business Class section of the lounge, with MB in tow, where it was much quieter and offered a much nicer range of snacks & meals, a very nice spot to while away an afternoon.  First born son PTA & partner, EMI, were in Melbourne already and met the oldies at the airport. After the skybus left they realised Emi's new Lumix G2 camera was still on the bus so after some frenzied phone calls they were very lucky to have the camera located and returned to them within a few heartstopping minutes of boarding the flight to Hobart.
The team hit the ground running this morning with a walk through Salamanca markets, MB loved the buskers doing duelling banjoes, the gypsy lamb rolls and stocked up on a $6 bag of cherries (1kg) plus some apricots and apples and some berry cheesecake. PTA & EMI cut loose and did some shopping in the city to pick up some warmer clothes. 
The afternoon itinerary was a trip to the famous block in New Norfolk, first time MB has seen it, photo above was taken at the bottom near the Lachlan River back up to the top of block which is roughly 90 meters away. 
Great weather today, warm and sunny and about 25c in New Norfolk, did the tiki tour of the town and the Derwent River parklands and had a beer at the Bush Park Hotel.  MB managed to spray the interior of the rental Hyundai with soda water, to the amusement of some and consternation of MDR.
Did a detour into Stefano Lubiana winery on the way back to Hobart but they're only open 11am - 3pm which was a bit of a disappointment.
Veal with mushrooms & cream sauce tonight with some local bintje potatoes following by the most fragrant strawberries MB amazingly found at the nearby Woolies of all places.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Flash of the Titan

Great excitement at Flecker Botanic Gardens in Cairns this week with the flowers of two of their Titan Arums about to burst forth.  The duo dropped in yesterday to check on progress, alas no flowering yet.  
The FBG have installed a time lapse camera to catch the flowering, which they promise to post online for those who miss this momentous event.  MB did ask about a webcam but was told by the nice FBG chappie that the Cairns Regional Council IT boffins claimed it would take at least a month to install one.

It's mine! No it's mine!

MDR snapped these great pics of our neighbourhood Kookaburras squabbling over a canetoad. One sneaky kookaburra tried to snatch the canetoad from his mate and at one stage was tenuously suspended by his beak which in turn was clamped onto the canetoad.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Telstra Rant

MB is off to a great start in this new decade. First call of the year is to Telstra for her elderly Father-in-Law (FIL) who is 81 years young, he has a Telstra mobile phone for emergencies. He isn't confident using it but is fine to receive calls on it.

When trying to call FIL on the mobile (due to his Telstra landline service being out of order) the calls kept diverting to the message bank before he could get to the phone. This causes him major stress as he doesn't understand how to use the message bank and can't get his head around SMS messages. MB thought this is easily fixed, just cancel all diverts which she successfully did for him.

However when one cancels all call diverts MB discovers that Telstra unilaterally diverts after 3 rings or less than 10 seconds, the unanswered call to a Message to Text Service. Again FIL can't make it to the phone in this time to answer the call before it diverts, making him very frustrated and angry. MB checked online at the Whirlpool forum and found the code you can use which delays diversion of unanswered calls by up to 30 seconds and has successfully done this.

MB tested this and still finds FIL isn't always able to catch the call before it diverts causing even more anxiety & stress for FIL.

MB also discovered on Whirlpool that one can request Telstra deactivate the message to text service however one has to call Telstra to have this done.  MB calls 125111 and gets Amber in Manilla, after a very long, confusing, convoluted and difficult to understand conversation with all of the loud background noise of her colleagues' in the call centre Amber finally seems to understand what is required and puts MB on hold.  After about 15mins the call dropped out. The entire call took 40 minutes.

MB does a test call to the mobile and finds that Amber has switched on all of the diverts and reactivated the Message Bank! MB promptly turns off all diverts again and tries calling Telstra Countrywide and managed to get onto Rick in Melbourne - but only after some backwards and forwards with the irritating voice robot thing. He understood exactly what MB asked and confirmed he would cancel the message to text immediately.

After 2 hours MB does another test call and finds the Message to Text is still activated.
MB is on Vodafone and and has probably racked up about $20 in mobile calls to FIL's Telstra mobile phone testing the call diversions.  BTW don't ask MB about Vodafone! They have been causing MDR some major grief as well...  Luckily Adam Brimo is sorting Vodafone out, see http://www.vodafail.com

This only reinforces MB's refusual to use Telstra for voice services anymore as every contact she has with them takes at least one hour, and more often than not many more hours of her life and it's just not worth it.

It's very hard for her to let the buggers get away with this so she will take this further and to the TIO if necessary.