U turns allowed

Although states in Australia generally adhere to the “Australian Road Rules”, Priscilla and I have noticed a few differences in the way they are implemented in Victoria to what we are used to in NSW.

The most talked about is the Hook Turn. This is where you turn right from the left hand lane to keep the road clear for trams.

One that gets me the most, though, is you are allowed (even encouraged) to do U-turns from the right hand lane. At intersections, traffic lights, wherever. In NSW you get fined for doing a U-turn unless it is explicitly signposted – in Victoria the opposite applies.

Wikipedia: The Australian Road Rules forbid u-turns at signalised intersections except where explicitly permitted, Victoria retains the state’s earlier rule of permitting u-turns except where explicitly forbidden.

In NSW there is a great rule “Turn left on red allowed after stopping” which confuses people down here.

In general, though, the roads are a little better surfaced (except the Monash Freeway), the lanes are a little wider, and the police are less tolerant than in NSW. There are also some great driving roads around Melbourne and some lousy traffic near the CBD. So, a little different, but mostly the same.

NASA Image of the Day

NASA publish an Image of the Day which is normally an awesome picture of space, from space, or relating to space in some way. Here is today’s (I thought it was really cool):

Mirror Images

Space shuttle Atlantis (foreground) sits on Launch Pad A and Endeavour on Launch Pad B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. At the left of each shuttle are the open rotating service structures with the payload changeout rooms revealed. The rotating service structures provide protection for weather and access to the shuttle.

For the first time since July 2001, two shuttles are on the launch pads at the same time. Endeavour will stand by at pad B in the unlikely event that a rescue mission is necessary during Atlantis’ upcoming STS-125 mission to repair NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The missions is slated to launch Oct. 10.

After Endeavour is cleared from its duty as a rescue spacecraft, it will be moved to Launch Pad 39A for its STS-126 mission to the International Space Station. That flight is targeted for launch Nov. 12.

Image Credit: NASA/Troy Cryder

Surfies Delight II

Fermenting: 05/09/2008 Bottled: 26/12/2008

The last beer kit I bought before i left Sydney was a Surfie’s Delight package from the Country Brewer. I previously made this beer back in January 2006 and it came out pretty well. With the cooler temperatures if Melbourne in early spring I’m expecting this version to be a cracker. I also learned from my previous mistake and added the aroma hops after 3 days of vigorous fermentation.

1.7kg Wals Pilsner beer concentrate24g Saaz hops 1kg Light liquid malt 150g Vienna Grain

Ingredients:

  • 1.7 kg can of beer concentrate – Wal’s Pilsner — a light crisp Australian pilsner.
  • 1 kg light liquid malt — made from 100% quality malting barley.
  • 150 g Vienna malt — steeped in hot water for 20 minutes then strained into the wort
  • 24g Saaz hops — spicy and aromatic — steeped for 5 minutes then added to fermenting wort after 3 days initial fermentation.

This should be a great beer come November February when I anticipate it will be ready for drinking.

Melbourne (beer is too) bitter

I’ve managed to try a few different beers since making it down to Melbourne.

James Squire Pepperberry Winter Ale – a dark, spicy ale. Chocolate in colour and flavour, quite bitter, not really a session beer but nice to warm up with.

Bells Brewery Black Ban Bitter – Bells Hotel is a brewpub near work, this bitter is their flagship beer. A coppery ale, very bitter without much hop aroma. I was a little underwhelmed, especially as a middie was $5. Nice to support a small brewer, but a beer has to have more going for it that just bitterness.

Coldstream Brewery Lager – another brewpub, this one on the way up the Yarra valley past home. Again, a bitter beer without much aroma, but this one was supposed to be a lager. Another disappointment, unfortunately. Perhaps next time I’ll try the bitter or pilsner and see if they are a bit more true to type. It was pale in colour, but also pale in flavour, other than the excessive bitterness.

So, I guess in summary, I’m finding craftbeers all to be a bit too bitter recently. Hopefully spring will bring with it some more hop aroma and flavour, meaning better tasting beers to enjoy as the weather warms up.

Large Hadron Collider

The new LHC is about to commence operations. Some scientists believe the LHC is possibly going to create a black hole which will destroy all life on earth as we know it. They believe this might happen as the LHC is designed to smash protons together at the speed of light (or very close to) creating matter and antimatter in close proximity – hence the black hole.

It’s a bit hard to explain, so the nerds over at CERN have created a rap video to make it easier to wrap your head around.

For more info:
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CERN](Wikipedia: CERN)
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_Hadron_Collider](Wikipedia: LHC)
[http://public.web.cern.ch/Public/Welcome.html](Official CERN Website)
[http://www.lhc.ac.uk/](Official LHC Website)

Moving to Melbourne

Since getting back from our honeymoon, Priscilla and I have been consumed by the task of moving house to Melbourne for my new job. On our second weekend back we drove down and look around real estate rentals in the Eastern suburbs, applied for a property and signed the lease.

Unfortunately this meant we would be leaving Sydney sooner than originally planned, but my work is allowing me to do my old job from our Melbourne office so it hasn’t meant Priscilla and I have had to live in separate cities.

One of the most  challenging things to organise about the move was how to physically do it – would we move ourselves or get professionals in. In the end, we got removalists to do the job. I think the 2 hours of loading/unloading at each end plus not having to drive our own truck down the highway for 10 hours was work the $2000 it cost us.

Since we arrived we’ve been busy trying to turn the building we are living in into a home. Still boxes around the place, but at least we have furniture now. The Melbourne weather is cold – at least 6 ° colder than Sydney at any given time – but all the houses have central heating to compensate.

Back from Thailand

Priscilla and I got back from our honeymoon on Saturday – Sydney is cold! Actually, I’ve been here a couple of days now and it is okay now – it just felt cold after 3 weeks of 25° nights and 35° days.

Happy Honeymoon Cake

Priscilla has put some photos up on her Picasa site if you want to see some pictures. We firstly were at Koh Samui, then up to Chiang Mai for a trek through the jungle, then a few days in Bangkok to finish.

Weather watching

Sunny

I’ve been keeping an eye on the weather for a couple of reasons this week. Firstly because I am having an outdoors wedding this Saturday. The weather was originally supposed to be showers, then chance of showers, and now it’s meant to be fine and 19°C. Hopefully the wind will stay down and we will have a gorgeous day.

Thunderstorms

The other reason is trying to figure out what to pack. Priscilla and I are off to Thailand for our honeymoon. Over there the weather ranges between 22-25°C each day and is described as thundershowers. May is traditionally a pretty wet month over there but hopefully it will just be a short downpour each day and paradise the rest of the time.

Snow

Another place I’ve been keeping an eye on is Melbourne. Bleak city has been pretty chilly – as low as 3°C overnight – and it’s only mid-May. Yikes!

If you don’t hear from me for a few weeks, don’t despair, I’m just spending time with my new wife. I can’t think of much that is going to be a higher priority over the next few weeks than spending time with her and enjoying some time away.

Top Deck Lunch aboard the MV Sydney 2000

On March 15, Priscilla and I joined her aunt and uncle for lunch aboard the Captain Cook Cruises ship MV Sydney 2000. We got a good deal ($70 for 2 people for 3 course lunch) due to an offer through the NRMA.

MV Sydney 2000

The MV Sydney 2000 is a very impressive boat. Effectively a floating restaurant, it glides around the harbour as you eat your meal. There isn’t much sense of being on a boat at all, there is almost no noticeable movement and most other ships get out of your way as you approach – size has it’s merits.

We enjoyed the “Top Deck Lunch” and were seated in the “Sirius Saloon” on the “Sky Deck”. It was a lovely meal – although you should be aware that you have to pay for drinks in addition to the meal that you get with your ticket.

It took approximately 2.5 hours to circle the harbour, a leisurely ride with some lovely food. It really felt like the world was travelling slower as we meandered around the harbour.

While it was nice, I think I would have enjoyed a smaller, less opulent ship to cruise around in. We felt too detached from the world around us, “in the world, but not of the world” sort of thing. A smaller ship where you can feel the waves and smell the salt air would make me feel more alive and like more of an event.

It was a great day, but make sure you get a good deal as the high price (normally $74 per person) and lack of sensation make for an imperfect day, but certainly an experience like no other.

Cocktails at sunset on the MV Sydney 2000