Sunday, June 27, 2010


This is not something I would expect to see in a gutter anywhere but in the Mission.

Friday, June 18, 2010


It's the only constant, no?

Shannon and I said at the beginning of 2010 that this would be a year of great change. We weren't clear how or when, but we were confident it would happen. I'm surprised it took until June, but it looks like change is upon us.

On Wednesday, all remote employees in United's engineering group were given a directive to report to San Francisco on January 1st, or be terminated. While I love SF, I just don't know if the timing is right.

More to come.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier

It's unusual that I learn of a beer in Australia that really knocks my socks off. This is one of them. I had never heard of Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier when I lived in the US. Considering that the import selection here is limited, its a surprise. I don't know if it's available in the US or not - perhaps I just missed it in the past.

This beer is dubbed a smoke beer, and it really lives up to it's name. The smoke flavor is so strong that it almost tastes like bacon. And we all know that everything is better with bacon. The bacon flavor is so strong, I'd drink it for breakfast if it didn't cost so much.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Melbourne Bike Share

Melbourne has rolled out a bike share program in the city. It's designed for short trips, modeled, seemingly, after the popular Velib program in Paris. I had read about it, but hadn't encountered the system until the other day.

The goal is to provide an alternative for shorter trips around town. Obviously, I'm all for this, and I'm sure others are, too. It's a good way to reduce overcrowding on trams, and conceptually, it would keep people from driving some, too. It's important to note that Melbournians love to drive.

For locals, it's a good deal at A$50 per year, with the first 30 minutes of each trip being free, and fairly reasonable rates after that. For tourists, it's A$8 per week, which I think is very fair. Obviously, locals could buy daily or weekly memberships as well, but I doubt that is the target market.

But, I fear that the city has started too small to make this a really viable alternative, or even to prove the concept. Have a look at the station map. I count ten, and I could see three of them from the same street corner. Now look at the station map for Velib. Now zoom out. And again. And again. Shocking, no?

Paris rolled out about 20,000 bikes. I'm sure it didn't all happen at once, but I'm guessing that there are no more than 200 in the Melbourne trial. I hope that the success is fantastic, as riding in inner Melbourne is pretty easy due to the geography. However, I fear that the program has been set up to fail from the start.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Australia = Amsterdam?

You eat stuff and pass out?

The red collar lorikeets eat a mystery food, lose coordination and pass out, says Lisa Hansen, a founding member of the Ark Animal Hospital at Palmerston, near Darwin.

This place is crazy. From The Age.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Big Day for the ACC

Today was a big day for the ACC in Victoria. While on a ride in an old NCSU kit, I saw a woman in a GT hat, and some kid in an FSU sweatshirt.

Victoria - so worldly.

Long Weekends

Spoiler Alert: The Hawthorne game will be discussed. Read at your own risk.

Weathermen suck. All of them.

Shannon and I had planned to go to Hong Kong over the long weekend. We opted to not go for a few reasons, one of which was that three different weather sites were giving us three different flavors of rain for the duration. That, coupled with Shannon really needing to be present at work on Tuesday, we opted not go to.

It appears that no rain fell, per The Weather Underground. It was also supposed to be a crap weekend out in the Grampians. We got up early on Saturday to make a call for a backpacking trip. It was raining, and despite being packed, we skipped it. At least it rained 1cm or so there.

But, we made the most of it. We spent a lot of time on Saturday in the Richmond suburb, which is very Asian in it's own way. We went to many an Asian grocery, and had lovely pho for lunch. Beers were consumed. All is well.

Sunday, we went to the Hawthorne v. Sydney AFL game at the MCG. Despite a 2008 premiership for Hawthorne, they have really been horrible since. However, since Sydney sucks too, it was a good game. Really sloppy play, but fun to watch, and close. We were in the upper deck, where I've never sat before, and I have to say, the seats were great, especially for A$21. Very steep seating , so you can see a lot. Hawthorne was looking pretty good until the fourth period, when they tried their hardest to hand the game over. All the same, this was probably the best game to watch that I've actually attended. Good stuff.

Monday I headed up to Woodend to go for a ride because I had the day off, and it was supposed to be sunny and nice. So, naturally, I pull into Woodend, and it's cloudy and 10 degrees. I head out anyway, and the ride was pretty nice. I did have a flat that had to be changed, but not a problem. All was well until I got to Malmsbury. My route home turned from sealed to dirt, which isn't a huge deal, then to 4x4 track, which was a little much for a road bike. So, I turned around, and tried plan B. The issue here was that the actual roads didn't match Google Maps. Crap.

At this point, I bagged it, and headed to the train station. This is a tiny station, and there isn't even a timetable, much less a ticket machine. Luckily, two public servants were there, and one was able to pull a schedule up on his iPhone. Very nice gentlemen, and they let me know that I had nearly 90 minutes to get cold and wait. So, back into town, I went to the bakery and had a coffee and a steak and bacon pie. That was a damn good pie, as I had already been out for 75k or so. I'm also convinced that the owner gave me a deal. I got a pie and a coffee for A$5 after asking if they took credit cards. I believe that he realized I was close on cash after sitting on his porch for an hour in bike clothes. So here's to the Malsmbury Bakery. Cheers. That's the best link I can find.

Anyway, a quick V-Line back to Woodend and all was well. The weather on Monday did turn out all right. But really, no HK, no backpacking for various meteorological issues? This did reafirm one thing that I've learned in the past but occasionally need reaffirmation of - never base your plans on the weather. Just go for it and see what happens.