Friday, 31 December 2010

2010 Reading

Here are listed the 77 books that I read in 2010 arranged roughly by author. However if I counted volumes separately it would mean that I read 90 books. Then some of these 90 books I read more than once this year… Then some of them I might have read in December 2009 and put on this list in error…

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams
So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish - Douglas Adams
Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams
Zoo Story - Edward Albee
The Chronicles of Prydain - Lloyd Alexander
Man Walks into a Bar – Stephen Arnott & Mike Haskins
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Last Days - Manuel Casha
The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha (part 1 – 482 pages) – Cervantes
White Tiger - Kylie Chan
Red Phoenix – Kylie Chan
Blue Dragon – Kylie Chan
Earth to Hell – Kylie Chan
Hell to Heaven - Kylie Chan
The Mousetrap and Selected Plays - Agatha Christie
And Another Thing – Eoin Colfer

Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

The Name Of The Rose - Umberto Eco
Dead Famous – Ben Elton
Past Mortem - Ben Elton

Shades of Gray - Jasper Fforde
The Last Dragonslayer – Jasper Fforde
Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Stephen Fry’s Incomplete and Utter History of Classical Music

Coraline - Neil Gaiman
Fragile Things – Neil Gaiman
Smoke and Mirrors – Neil Gaiman
The Sandman Volumes 1-11 - Neil Gaiman
The Sandman: Volume 6 – Fables & Reflections - Neil Gaiman
Sandman: The Dream Hunters - Neil Gaiman
Death: The High Cost of Living - Neil Gaiman
Death: The Time of Your Life - Neil Gaiman
The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains - Neil Gaiman
Stories All New Tales – edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio
Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
Patience – W. Gilbert
The Mikado – W. Gilbert
Chinese Folktales - edited by Howard Giskin
An Abundance of Katherines - John Green
The Great Gatsby – A Graphic Adaptation - Nicki Greenberg
Asterix and the Big Fight - Goscinny and Uderzo
Asterix and the Great Crossing - Goscinny and Uderzo
Asterix and The Vikings - Goscinny and Uderzo

Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
Classical Mythology Images & Insights - Stephen Harris
High Fidelity - Nick Hornby

The Trial - Franz Kafka
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey

Weekend - Matthew Lambert
The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula LeGuin

Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger
Delta of Venus - Anais Nin

Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell

I Shall Wear Midnight – Terry Pratchett
Soul Music – Terry Pratchett
Thief of Time – Terry Pratchett

Best Australian Political Cartoons 2010 – edited by Russ Radcliffe
Twitterature - Alexander Aciman & Emmett Rensin

Holes - Louis Sachar
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – William Shakespeare
Twelfth Night – William Shakespeare
Plays - Tom Stoppard

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court - Mark Twain
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain

Cricket Jokes - Max Walker and Brian Doyle
Complete Short Fiction - Oscar Wilde
The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays - Oscar Wilde
The Picture Of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
Rudyard Kipling Mowgli’s Brothers – edited by Christopher Wormell

Arabian Nights – edited by Jack Zipes

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Mount Wellington

My grandfather would often tell this story: It was a dark and stormy night, a band of robbers sat round the fire place and the leader said, “Rupert, tell us a story”, so Rupert began. “It was a was a dark and stormy night, a band of robbers sat round the fire place and the leader said, “Rupert, tell us a story”, so Rupert began, “It was a dark and stormy night …

Mount Wellington rises 1270 meters above Hobart, its towering presence creating a wonderful natural back drop to all the action in the city.

It was a beautiful day, I had been to the south of Tassie, had had dinner and the sun was still shining with all its strength and I thought, “I know, I’ll drive up that mountain there.”

I should have checked what the internet said about Mount Wellington first. Discover Tasmania says: “Test out the windiest spot in Hobart” and “The interpretation centre at the top protects you from the blustering winds.”

Well, it was a little bit windy when I was driving up. I saw a look out hopped out of the car and enjoyed the view. And then continued up.

And the wind picked up. I started thinking that this might not be a quite such a good idea, but about two k’s from the top I pulled over in a car park and the wind died down, so I took some photos and once again continued up.

And the wind picked up again, I started wondering if my car could be blown over on it’s side. There is only so much The Beast can handle. I parked at the top of the mountain, and when I opened my door the wind blew it open with a bang. I jumped, thankfully it didn’t blow off, I hopped out of the car and slammed the door shut. And the wind became stronger.

Standing up became a struggle, and I thought “Andrew, you silly bugger, lets go home.” And the wind blew past my face, blowing off my glasses in a huge gust.

I saw them land on a bush a good five meters away, glint in the sun, and disappear. I ran to the bush and dived upon it, searching the branches and the roots for my glasses or a glint of sun, anything. But I couldn’t see a thing. A rash from the bush and insect bites painfully spreading over my arms, windburn lashing across my face. I searched desperately, how could I get off the mountain if I couldn’t see? And somehow I heard a couple of people running to their car.

I dashed to them and entreated a young lady to help me find my glasses, but unfortunately she couldn’t understand me, and neither could the other three Swedish tourists in the car. Thankfully an Australian was showing them around, and I begged him for help, and they all came and helped me search.

But it was fruitless, the bloke asked if I was from Hobart – subtlety hinting that he could give me a lift, “No, Melbourne” and realisation dawned on him my deeper trouble. How would I get the car back to Melbourne… And the search was renewed.

Fifteen minutes later they found them. A pair of glasses, the clip-on-sunnies had fallen off somewhere, but this meant that I could see. I grasped them in my hand, thanked my rescuers again and again and they were off. I wish I had something to give them. I got in my car, prised my fingers off my glasses and put them on my nose. Relief.

Note to self: put an old pair of glasses in the car.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Photo of the Day

Photo of a sign outside a shop in Beechworth.
Camera: SONY

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Tasmanian Coffee 3

For part one click here
For part two click here

Consumed at Queenstown Railway Station whilst waiting for the West Coat Wilderness Railway to depart.

At Tarraleah. Running out of petrol I found a cafe, they didn't have petrol but they did have toast and coffee, and could point me in the right direction. Tarraleah seemed to be a tourist town, a place for people to stay the night and get wed. A lot of blue houses.

At the cafe at the Tahune Air Walk. Easily the worst coffee of the trip - tasted like cough syrup. I will never buy coffee at tourist attractions. I will never buy coffee at tourist attractions. I will never...

A very nice cafe in Sheffeild. Skwiz Cafe and Gallery. They collect Tea Pots and have Folk Music on Fridays. They had a lovely note written on a newsletter, which silly me did not write down, it started like this "we believe in mix-matched chairs and tea pots"




Friday, 24 December 2010

Wineglass Bay

The drive to Wineglass Bay is through the Freycinet National Park, you pay money to drive to the car park, where even out of season there are hundreds of cars and then it is a two or so kilometre walk to Wineglass Bay. Not the easiest walk in the world, but short, and looking out from the high sections to Great Oyster Bay and Wineglass Bay is beautiful. And walking back is easier.

When I reached the beach, I threw off my shoes and walked across the sand to the opposite end of the beach, letting the waves run across my feet. Most of the people stayed near the walking track, so once you had walked half way around the bay it was peaceful and quiet. And the water was the most amazing shade of blue-green, fading to dark blue as the water became deep.

The water was cold, but the funny thing is it seemed warmer as I walked the k and a half to the end of the beach, and then seemed to get colder again as I walked back. Children happily swam in the waves. It would be lovely to kayak in the water. There is a kayak place in Coles Bay… Perhaps next time…

Wineglass Bay - taken straight with Nikon D3000

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Tasmanian Coffee 2

For part one go here

In Port Phillip Bay from the Lavender Cafe on the Spirit of Tasmania 1. Woken up at 5:30 for a 6:30 exit, the tables are littered with hundreds of coffee cups.

Had a coffee and pudding at my motel's restaurant in Lindisfarne. People look at weirdly when you just order dessert and coffee. Don't tell them that I had a pizza at Sorell.

A hot chocolate from a chocolate shop in Launceston, once again I had to stir it up, but this one was beautiful.

Best coffee of the trip from This Cafe in Launceston.

Coffee in LaTrobe - I had given up trying to find The House of Anvers.

Another coffee in LaTrobe after another unsuccessful search. I had a good vegetable pie to eat with my coffee. There seems to be a lot of pie shops in the north-west of Tassie.

House of Anvers's Chocolates. I had trouble finding Anvers. It is in LaTrobe, but on the highway, not in the main street. This is a small hot chocolate and it filled up my cup twice. I had fun taste testing free chocolates. I'm told that Anvers's chocolates are dairy free and egg free.

A Devonshire Tea from Ida Bay. This was the furthest south that I could buy food and when I saw that they had a Devonshire Tea, I knew what I had to order. There was heaps of jam and cream - you had to have a degree in engineering to work out how to put it all on the scones. Beautiful!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Tasmanian Coffee

In Tassie I had 23 cups of coffee, hot chocolate and tea. Which sounds pretty bad when you write it like that, but in reality it works out to be two cups a day.

Huonville - in the south. This was dessert after a beautiful vegetarian pizza that had artichokes, asparagus and other vegies.

I didn't spend a lot of time in Hobart. But just enough time to drink a coffee.

Hot Chocolate in Grindelwald from a 'swiss' chocolate shop. It was interesting having to mix it up yourself, but unfortunately didn't taste as good as I was hoping.

Coffee at Dubbil Barril - in the first class carridge of the West Coast Wilderness Railway. They treat you very very well in first class, I could have drank coffee for the entire trip if I wanted to, but I restrained myself and only had one with lunch.

In Devonport. I disembarked from the Sprit of Tasmania 1 at 6:30ish, parked at the Tourist Information Centre and went straight to the only coffee shop that was open - a place called Banjo's. I later realised that Banjo's is a bakery chain that has stores in other Tassie towns.

Coffee at Bellerive. I had driven for hours tring to find an Indian restaurant, or any restaurant that had good veggie fare when I found this lovely French place which is a restaurant by night and a patisserie by day. The menu had duck and snail dishes. I had a wonderful minestrone soup followed by a coffee whist reading Theif of Time by Terry Pratchett. This coffee was by far one of the best on my trip.

The polite French waiter was also a Terry Pratchett connoisseur and hailled from Footscray in Melbourne.

A free coffee at Beauty Point whilst I waited for a documentary on the platypus to start at the World of the Platypus.

Coffee in Bass Straight - at the Leatherwood Restaurant on the Spirit of Tasmania 1, drank while on the way home, watching the sun set.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Wouldn't It Be Nice

Mitch was doing an informal survey wondering how many people knew what came after "wouldn't it be nice" in the Beach Boy’s song of the same name. Thanks to a very effective advertising campaign by an Australian company many people will now sing “Wouldn’t it be nice if the world was chocolate”. It would be interesting to do the survey on a large scale.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older
Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long
And wouldn’t it be nice to live together
In the kind of world where we belong

“Wouln’t It be Nice” by The Beach Boys - Songwriters: Brian Wilson , Tony Asher and Mike Love

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Two Good Books

I have just borrowed two books from two wonderful people (Well that is not quite true, I borrowed them ages ago, but have only rust read them and I will return them this week). Both books were lesser known books from famous authors, and I enjoyed them more than other works by the same authors. Both books were about being human and about power, but I don’t want to write much in case I give away too much of the stories, go and read them.

‘The Left Hand of Darkness’ by Ursula LeGuin

I put on my winter coat and went out for a walk, in a disagreeable mood, in a disagreeable world.

A profound love between two people involves, after all, the power and chance of doing profound harm.

There are peoples who have no higher mathematics at all, nothing beyond the simplest applied arithmetic. Every one of them is capable of understanding the calculus, but ot one of them does or ever has.

I’ll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination.

‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’ by Mark Twain

You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus

You see, he was going for the Holy Grail. The boys all took a flier at the Holy Grail now and then. It was a several years' cruise. They always put in the long absence snooping around, in the most conscientious way, though none of them had any idea where the Holy Grail really was, and I don't think any of them actually expected to find it, or would have known what to do with it if he had run across it.