Thursday, December 29, 2005

Wine Tasting

One thing I like to do when visiting Adelaide, is to do some wine tasting, and as per our last visit in June, we dragged my Father, however willing out into the country side to try some wine from some of the local wineries in and arround the Adelaide Hills.

Unlike last time, there was really no real plan of attack, Dad picked out a few wineries from the Adelaide Yellow Pages and we were off!

We first visited the Nepenthe Cellar Door, located in the Adelaide Hills wine reigon, just outside of Harndorf in Balhannah, and picked up a bottle of "The Fugue 2000".

Next Stop was to the Harndorf Hill Winery and picked up a nice bottle of their 2005 Sauvignon Blanc. Dad had only been there the week before for a catch up with some of his mates and recommended this as we were passing. Lucky we dropped in, because the hospitality we received from the Owner Mark, a nice chap from Cape Town in South Africa, was impeccable and definitely rewarding with my purchase.

Then after lucking out on a couple of other wineries that were CLOSED, we decided to make our way out to Lenswood and popped into the Mount Lofty Ranges Vineyard, a nice little winery tucked away on a tight windy road. We picked up their 2001 Old Pump Shed Pinot Noir, and got some valuable advice from the guy there. We were lucky, because the list was getting quite short with only three wineries so far being Open.

Next stop was off to Deviation Road in the old Sumners Bakery Building in Charleston. The girl behind the counter didn't really have much of a clue, and was quite ready to agree with anything that my father had to say about their wine, but we picked up a few wines here, Eva bought the Fruity White and I picked up their 2002 Shiraz & the Reserve Port.

Our last stop for the day was at a place called Bird in Hand in Woodside, a beautiful little winery, and we picked up a 2004 Two in the Bush Merlot Cabernet, and a clean skin Fortified Canbernet which was most yummy! Eva couldn't resist and bought some of their Kalamata Olives, but resisted the urge to buy some Olive oil too.

On the way back home, I managed to catch Eva trying to cool down. It was about 35°c and definitely hotter in the car, this is definitely the photo of the Trip.

And here is the haul, definitely not as much as last time, but something purchased from every place that we visited. Thanks Dad, maybe next time we'll visit the Clare Valley.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas dinner... Turducken

Alas I wasn't able to cook this monstrosity of a bird on Christmas day as we would be out at my Uncle & Aunts place for Christmas lunch, but Christmas eve is the next best thing.

As earlier reported, my father had commissioned a Turducken from the local butcher, and when he picked it up yesterday, it would've been close to 10kg in size, pre-stuffed, with what, I wasn't sure, but still it weighed heaps!

Easily enough, it fitted nicely into the aluminum tray that Dad had bought especially for the occasion.

With past experiences, the oven at my parents place, fails to cut the mustard when it comes to generating any kind of heat, so we used Dad's Birthday/Retirement/Christmas present (there he is with his toy and the guard dog, Mandy), and well, all that I can say, it definitely cooks a whole lot better than the electric convection oven. Within minutes, I managed to get the oven upto a respectable 200°c with 2 burners running on "low". Then in went the turducken!

After about an hour, it was time to baste the turducken, and my, oh my, it not only smelt amazing, but it also looked great to boot!

And here is the end result, mmm... Yummy! I've never really been a big fan of the Turkey, but adding a chicken and a duck, kinda make it all a little more appealing! Can't wait for Christmas Dinner, apparently we've got 15 or so people coming.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Last minute Christmas Shopping!

Today we headed out to get the last of the presents we needed, tracking all over Rundle Mall, and not finding anything that we wanted, such the frustration!

My little sister, Jocy had called earlier in the day to see if we were keen on lunch and had organised to meet her at the Malls' Balls, and then for some lunch. Decided that it would be best to get the car out of the parking station and then making our way down to Gouger Street for some lunch at China Town.

After we'd given up on Adelaide city, we dropped Jocy home in her new digs in St Peters, then made our way down to Westfield Marion, found everything that we wanted in about 30 minutes and were outa there as it was absolute bedlam, 1000's of people in this place, a bit like Sydney almost. Just glad we made it home in one piece!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Fixed it

About 6 weeks ago, my parents machine decided to die, and it was a few frantic phone calls, and much direction from me, they had the local computer guy in Mount Barker to fix it, strangely enough, he admitted that he'd never seen a setup like my parents have in their machine and nearly refused to fix it/look at it, because it was "non standard".

All the same, it cost my father $160 for 1x new HDD, labour to diagnose and install new hard disk, and the recommendation: "Purchase new Operating system".

Small rip off, considering they refused to install the copy of Windows 2000, stating it was "illegal" to install it becasue it was a burnt backup copy of my original back in Sydney. I certainly wouldn't charge nearly $60 to look at the machine and say "oohh... that's bad, it's a Blue Screen of death, what shall we do now?"

All that aside, I've fixed the computer, managed to remount the old hard disk's partitions and get all the apropriate data off it before it fails again.

I just hope my parents hurry up and buy a new computer soon, this 6 year old beast is definitely on her last legs!

We made it!

After booking our flights some 2+ months ago, Eva & I finally landed in Adelaide, my home town.

With only 2-3 hrs of sleep under my belt, and about 20 minutes on the plane where I managed to wake myself up along with scaring the living daylights out of Eva with a full body twitch, I was coherent and awake enough to read my APC Mag, and hold half a conversation with Eva for the remainder of the flight.

Arrived at Adelaide Airport in the old terminal building that's been there since the dawn of time itself, and the new terminal building across the way, STILL inoperable it was back to familiar surroundings. Picked the hire car up from Hertz, and then promptly made our way up the hill to my parents house.

Some photos of our ride up the hill:

Driving through Adelaide city

Entry to the Heysen Tunnels, aka the Heysen Nostrils as the locals like to call it.

When Eva & I eventually made it to my parents place, we were greeted by my parents and the two dogs Pippa & Mandy.

When ever I arrive in Adelaide, I can't leave Sydney without picking up some treats for the dogs, last time it was cowhide bones, this time it was whole beef shin bones, approximately 1kg each. The dogs loved them! Funny thing was, Pippa had trouble carrying hers around the front yard, as it was just too damn heavy. And minutes after handover, Mandy was already contemplating a place to bury hers, and started under the table under the lawn, got about 10cm down, and two paws wide, then lifted the bone over the hole to test for size, definitely too small, and not something my father was going to allow, so poor Mandy had to go find somewhere else to bury it... But as soon as she'd proudly trotted away after burying the bone, Pippa was in there unearthing the thing. Poor Mandy.

Mandy and her prized bone.

Pippa and her bone.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Simon Sez...

Thanks to my colleague Kath for her wacky sense of humor...

Simon Sez Santa
... See if you get on the norti list... I managed to :O)

Ebay - the biggest shopping mall

OMG! im bidding on another tank! Ebay the mother of bargain shopping outlets

This one is a AR-620 :) short one of the other tank! exciting!!!!

Its my birthday present to myself :D

Christmas parties

After a marathon 2 weeks, and four Christmas parties later, I'm somewhat reluctant to say... I've had enough! The fith and final party I've had to reluctantly decline and cry poor, both in pocket and in health.

It's now only a few short days till Eva & I land in Adelaide, definitely looking forward to the break away from Sydney, and to catch up with family and friends, and fixing the mess that the local computer shop made of my parents computer...

But hey! It's going to be a great Christmas, food, wine and fun. What more could you ask for?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Useless Mailouts

Everyday we come home to a pile of junk mail. Nothing worth mentioning, we usually just chuck them out. But today was different...

I found one from Energy Australia, Enclosed was a blank flyer with our address.... (nothing else) and a pamphlet called "Your powerlines: safety and bushfire prevention."

Now I would like to explain the sheer stupidity of sending it to us:

A: We live in Inner Sydney. i.e. not bushland (Omitted scraggly birch tree outside on pavement) B: We live in a 1 bedroom apartment, in a huge complex. The powerlines are managed by strata
C: We live opposite a fricking Fire Station.

A waste of paper, from a poor tree that some bloke chopped down needlessly.

A cool note tho; we watched the firestation blow up a car yesterday for their trainees :)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Bargain too big to accept.

Last Saturday was last weekend of the Importers Warehouse clearance. Although we had gone the previous weekend we had to go again and pick up a Christmas present that we had chosen the previous weekend but forgotten to grab.

Wandering round we couldn't help but pick up even bigger bargain, and got even more presents for Christmas!

Then just as we approach in the crockery section, we see a lady standing near a stack of dinner and side plates. Just as we get to the plates (we had bought the bowls of that set the previous week) the lady shouts out to her co-worker "Gavin! Can we have deal?"

Gavin walks up and asked her for the number of plates, together we counted... Over 100. We waited for the deal, "$40 bucks for the lot"

I looked at Steph expectantly... (mentally picturing the new plates in our crockery cupboard)

Steph (in typical guy exasperated at female shopping logic): What are we going to do with all those plates?!?!?!
Eva (chirpy voice): Smash them!
Steph (unconvinced): Ha!

Gavin the sales guy pipes in at this point "You can pretend she's Greek and throw them at her..."

Steph (looks at Eva): (pauses) She doesn't look very Greek!

It actually shocked me to think that I had Chinese features. My only excuse, was that the offer was mind blowing, and my mind was still boggling over 40 cent a plate!

We all laugh and Steph (relieved) and I (regretfully) walk away...

Behind us the Lady announces "$30 bucks for 100 plates!" *


* At the sound of the Lady's announcement Steph gripped my wrist firmly and continued to walk away... He thinks I have no Will or Resolve when there's a bargain to be found!!!

Telesales calls...


If calls from Indian call centres trying to sell me cheaper phone calls, the local bank trying to sell me a new credit card wasn't enough, I'm now receiving calls to my home phone number from my Mobile phone provider has decided to recruit a third party research company to survey me on whether I was satisfied with their service.

Really... doesn't nearly 10 years of constant connection and 1000's of dollars spent speak enough of my confidence in their service??

I politely refused to participate, and asked to be removed from future surveys... I really wonder if that will happen.

If I could, I'd do away with the home phone, but alas, ADSL requires me to have an active phone line.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Calpis Water

It's been a while since Eva introduced me to the wonders of Calpis, and this morning Eva appeared with a Calpis Soft Candy bar which looks alot like a stick of bubble gum...

I actually love the stuff and recommend it to anyone. If only you could get the stuff in powdered form!

And then there's Pocari Sweat, but I'm not such a fan, it tastes alot like some of the early energy drinks of the 90's. Just love the advertising on this one...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

New Haircut

Bit the bullet today and had a haircut.

The cut is a bit lulu-pre london look. I was starting to feel a bit like grug as its almost 4 months since my half-asleep hair chopping and 10 since a professional cut. I went to the John Brennan Hair in Westfield EastGardens. John actually cut my hair! (i found out when he answered the phone) He did a pretty good job, but it does beg the question about my hair and kung-fu hairdressers. This guy had my hair flying off in chunks as he thinned it down for me. The other hairdresser was like a samuri scissor man!

Oh well as long as the end product is wearable.