Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Way-hey, I can ride a bike again. Sort of. My training for the Dirtworks 50km so far has involved on again off again rides mainly in the royal national park, and a whole lot of sleeping.

But not last weekend! I was determined. I emailed the gang, nominated the 9.20 train from glenbrook and what time it was due to arrive at woodford. I was determined to ride no matter what.

As I was driving up to Glenbrook (borderline late for the train), I remembered that the last ride I had done in RNP, B1 had had two flats, borrowed my spare tube, and left me with the super-busted-cannot-be-repaired one. *grrr*.

I lurked around glenbrook for a while, hoping for the old-bike-shop-now-outdoor-stuff shop to open. The clock ticked ominously. Decided to run the risk & ride without a spare and went off to meet Robin & Darren at the station. Turns out the train was already crowded (with bikes), and there were at least thirty more wanting to join the train. Uh oh. Donated our tickets to some likely riders, and ended up driving to the start of the trail.

We had two spare tubes between three bikes. I had had another sort of brain malfunction, and forgotten my bike shoes as well. Duh, doofus! Luckily, Robin had just changed his flat pedals to eggbeaters (ooh, hardcore!), so I could use those instead of sneakers of spd pedals.

And it was fun! I rode most of the downhill sections, except for the really really big one. I even made it up the enormous hill at the end. I'm not sure what the gradient was, but *wow* I'm so impressed. I've never made it past the first switchback before. It got to the point, as I was riding up, that I couldn't even look at the road ahead; all I could focus on was bit of bitumen just in front of my front wheel.

Total kudos to Darren - this was only the second time off road; he rode most of the downhill sections, but on a rigid frame, no suspension bike that was a little small for him.

Milkshakes were well deserved.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Haigh's Chocolate Indulgence

Morning coffee break with coffee buddy, in a week that I had decided to come off the coffee again "for as long as it took", so that it would become effective again*.

The Grace hotel had teamed with Haigh's Chocolates to present a chocaholics dream of brownies, biscuits and hot chocolate. So being a fan of the Lindt dark hot chocolate, we went to sample the fare at theGrace.

Choice: 'Normal' hot chocolate, Hot Chocolate Haigh's style, White hot chocolate.

Hot Chocolate Haigh's style came with two marshmallows and a small chocolate and macademia nut biscuit. There was no choice of dark or milk chocolate. Shaved chocolate on top, which melted in the time it took me to take a photo.

The hot chocolate was very sweet, and I think I prefer the Lindt version with the dark chocolate. The 10% discount voucher was put to immediate use - a packet of dark peppermint chocolate frogs, dark choc coated almonds, and milk choc coated macadamias. The nuts are having ashorter lifespan than the frogs, just so moreish.

* That said, when I walked into the coffeeshop this morning; The guy knew me immediately as 'flat white, no sugar", so I haven't been offthe stuff for long enough.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Ooh, I can do Arty Farty Again

Coffee Buddy alerted me to the fact that the art gallery is open on Wednesday evenings for the 'art after hours' event during the month of April. He went on 28 March to hear a comedian talk about the Archibald. So this Wednesday I went. Not to hear Margaret Throsby interview two finalists, but just for a chance to visit the art gallery not-on-a-weekend. Hmm. Those are usually called weekdays, yes? It's a bit too 'familiarity breeds contempt', because the last time I went to the art gallery was during primary school; and despite 'meaning' to see The Archibald Prize, or see artexpress every year, I never quite get off my backside to go.

There was a huge crowd there for the Margaret Throsby talk. Funny how I never really did art in Aus beforenow, and yet I went & visited quite a few art galleries whilst in Europe. I sidestepped the seating, and went 'round the back to artexpress.

I liked the 'minature thoughts' on postage stamps one (For where your Treasure is...., by Aimee Shao-Yi Yeo). Brown ink on a cream cardboard, grouped into three sets with different background colours. Did she handwrite each miniscule thought? Or was it printed in sepia ink, and shrunk down?

I also liked the wirework tableau (A Political Circus, by Madeleine Plocki), of Downer and Iemma playing Texas Hold 'Em Poker; Howard as a circus ringleader with Costello peeking hopefully through a curtain.

There were quite a few entries from International Grammar School. Why does that sitck in my mind? Because it is local, and I can relate to it, despite not having gone to school there.

Then it was downstairs, and into the Archibald, Sulman and Wynne prizes. Um, yeah. I can see why the painting of Take Two: Jack Thompson by Danelle Bergstrom won the packing room prize, I thought that was pretty cool. I guess I liked the stories behind the pictures more, because nothing here kind of grabbed me and made me go "oh, wow".

So what I liked (art critic that I'm not):
- The Hon. Bob Carr (Jasper Knight), because Knight was a finalist in artexpress a few years ago, Carr bought his artwork, and that they meet up every year to "catchup".
-Fink on the Phone (Paul Ryan), because it took Ryan two intense periods, and at least $800 worth of paint to get it to a stage he liked. Very textured.
-Tim (Esther Elridge). She tacked on an extra bit of canvas at the bottom of her portrait to emphasis Tim Rogers' lanky figure, and then 'spent a lot of time up a ladder'!