Sunday, January 29, 2006

Aussie funk

There is no way around it. I am depressed. In a real funk. Can't see the light at the end of my dark, depressing tunnel.

Coming back from the magical country of Australia, it has been tough. Not least of all because I spent way too much money, but mainly because I keep thinking, 'why didn't I move back there when I had the chance'. I keep promoting the country as a place to live, to raise kids, to die. It really is that kind of place.

I guess you could say I could still move back but it is no longer simply "I", but the unit I am in since married. And then there is the dogs.

Interestingly I am one to tell people that it is often a lot easier to move to a different country than you might think. And I am always impressed when I meet whole families (like a mum and dad with 2 or three kids) that pick up and move. And I am NOT talking about the families that are on the huge expat, corporate posting, salary.

But now my wife has the good job which is important, especially for her burgeoning career. And the ties of a Czech girl to family and homeland is not something to take lightly.

So what do to? Dunno.

(BTW I lived Oz for 7 years and have an Aussie passport. Left 10 years ago. )

Proabably shouldn't put these up for everyone to see, but hell, maybe you get the idea when you look at how clean, sunny, warm it looks. Too many photos, its true. Didn't spend enough time editing.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A Decent Stew

I made a beef stew today. I don't know why, but now I want to tell someone how I made it; because it came out fabulous. (Its not a beginner cooking story; I cook quite a bit).

Took out frozen beef chunks from freezer. And I had some fresh beef cut for stew. Probably a kilogram, or just under. Cut up a lot of onions (I would say that it probably is better to double the amount of onions that you read in any recipe regarding beef).

Butter, onions, beef - cook in a the iron pot. Add Podravka (kind of a season all, with chunks of small dried veggies. Has mainly salt, so i didnt add salt.), pepper, two tomatoes cut into big chunks. A bit of paprika, not too much, though. One whole galic clove. (Dunno why, just threw it in). Green bottled peppercorns, maybe a tablespoon (these have been in the fridge over a year, maybe that had something to do with it?).
Oh yeah, a big tablespoon of mustard.

Water, probably a liter of water. And then cooked for 2 hours? Maybe even another two (there is something about cooking the bejeesus out of meat in a pot. I love the idea beef just falles apart like this. Especially on a very cold day. It say on the stove for hours while my wife and I puttered around all day. )

Then a heck of alot of carrots were thrown in. And a rue (sp?). Whatever its called when you melt butter with flour and fry it a bit. I also had some corn starch to this mixture. Then into the main pot of stew. Just to thicken it a bit. Oh, and just for fun, added some beef bouillion (Cheating! you might say. It already had a serious good flavor, and I did this to beef it up a bit. Horrible pun).

So now servie it with little curvy pasta thingies or with rice, or with mashed potatoes?

Overall it probably comes out more like an Irish Stew. Whatever, its pretty good.



I just watched Primer. Its one of those movies that makes you think, and think and think. Like 12 Monkeys, or better, Memento, you keep trying to figure out what happened. Sure you can say that Primer was a movie of a certain genre (which I won't mention because it might immediately bore some people).

I would say that the most interesting things about the movie were:
  • the 7,000 USD budget (yes!! )
  • the showing at Sundance Film Festival (and now they are all on the road to riches)
  • the good acting (it was very, very believable acting; they were normal, Dilbertish workers always wearing white shirts and almost always, ties).
  • the long list of intelligent dialogues about the genre on the discussion boards at (usually they get fairly inane)
Yes, I liked it. I was actually a bit frightened at one point. And that, I have to say, has no logical reason.

56 Flights

So the weapons might just have been moved. I looked at the Democratic Underground's discussion board by chance to note some reactions to this guy, Sada's, coming out party. Basically everyone is falling all over themselves to call this guy a phony. Sure, I would agree that you have got to be suspicious. But on the other hand, shouldn't you allow some time to go by, wait for more proof, some interview to see if he is a nut, some reaction from other reputable sources, before calling him a phony, before you open up the festering anti Bush vehemence that you keep under your bed at night? Really, it dilutes the argument if you are prone to a kneejerk reaction like that, don't you think? Oops, I forgot, you don't think. You jerk the knee,.. jerks.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Never in a cowboy hat.

Quiet banker friend goes on holiday. Comes back with this photo.

I never thought I would see him in a cowboy hat.

In reference to the subjects in the photo he says "nothing happened later".

So nothing happened, but that nothing happened at a later time??

.... hmmm


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Ok, this is strange.

Now think about it one more time.


Osthoff: Suspicious? I'll say!

Okay, you are studying Islam, you get kidnapped. Someone pays a ransom.

While you being debriefed the coppers notice a bunch of cash in your clothes. Looky here, the cash has the same serial numbers as the ransom money. Ooops?

Suspicious? A rigged deal? Business partners with the kidnappers?

How do explain this away? It was bus money?

The Germans come away looking a bit silly. I admit, there must be a lot of other stuff behind the scenes that we, the public, never will see. But after all the bad press the USA gets from Germany, I would have thought that they would be falling all over themselves to show that they (Germans) were not assisting the terrorist. ("More Euros for Terror")


Monday, January 23, 2006

Static Cling, Dogs, and Jet-lag

Is it a compulsive trait to worry to much about lint and dog hairs on your coat? I felt that way a bit today.

It is bitterly cold outside and a little too bright for my slightly jet-lagged eyes (back from oz last few days). I keep looking down at my dark black "Monty" coat that I am wearing over my black business suit. So much little specks of cotton, dog hairs and dust. On the suit as well as the coat.

Driving me crazy!

The Monty coat was a great buy, though. So warm, and with the hood over my scottish cap, I feel warmer than most others seem to be.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Hot and Cold

Yeah, this is what I came back to.
"Monday, Jan 23
Prague, Czech Republic Weather Bitterly cold with periods of clouds and sunshine High: -14° C RealFeel: -13° C Prague, Czech Republic Weather Monday Night: Partly cloudy and bitterly cold. Winds will be calm Low: -14° C RealFeel: -12° C " (

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Birds

A bit Hitchcockish, don't you think?


More photos.

Magically Hunter

Did you ever think that you might magically appear to be Hunter S. Thompson? This photo was taken on Christmas Eve, on top of an apartment in East Sydney. It was warm, we were tipsy, and the camera was slow.

Dan Rooftop Xmas

More photos.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Abbreviated Australia Trip Notes

Ok ok ok... I said I would post while off on my Austrlian trip... but things like food, hot weather, driving sort of got in the way.

First order of biz is to show some photos via photos

We left Prague on the 19th of December 2005 and spent a very short 40 hours in Singapore, out with Richo who took us to some outside Hawker stands.

Food is a big part of my life if you don't already know that. Both eating and cooking. I wanted to make a number of photos of food but it seemed to embarrass my group (could you imagine going to arestaurant with some nerd the had to photograph almost everything he ate?). I really long for good Asian food so coming back to this part of the world is a real joy for me. In the photo set you might see me holding up noodles with chopsticks or a bowl of soup, or the Christmas dinner spread I made, so please forgive me.

Sydney was a great visit, and especially thanks to Ruth who lent us her flat for the week she was away with Dean and Lara and visiting family. But being a tourguide in some really hot and humid weather is a bit of a drag. But the ferry rides, the restaurants, the friends... all a great melancholia for me.

We later drove down the southcoast road, the Princes highway, stopping at Jervis bay for a few days to see dolphins and do other seaside things. A lot of flies, I must say. I didn't recall so many flies that were really annoying. But then someone told me this year has a been a real plague - ie., it is a bit unusual to have so many. Let's hope so.

Gippsland for a night and then on to a friendd of friends, uncle's house in Doncaster for a few weeks of Melbourne. Admittedly, its a bit much for Melbourne, but we had hoped to make more distant trips from there, such as Adelaide, Tasmania, etc. We did do the Yarra Valley, Healesville Sanctuary, the Great Ocean Road, etc. But we are now in the last week of the trip and need some things to do.

So that's all for the abbreviated notes on the trip and some photos. I will post more in the near future.