27 January 2014

Black and White Monday

Mondays are not always black and white, but this one is. It's a public holiday in Australia. So the Blogger dragged me for a walk this morning around our local park lake. Time to grab the camera and take some B&W photos.

19 January 2014

K-fee Coffee

We were invited by our neighbours for dinner a few weeks ago. They are terrific neighbours. We keep an eye on each others houses whenever we go away.

After dinner, they served coffee. It was very good coffee and I was interested what kind of coffee it was. Turned out it was Aldi coffee made with one of their coffee machines, using capsules. After New Year I investigated and was pleasantly surprised. Although I had a coffee machine for some years, it was cumbersome and messy. This on the other hand is quick, clean and works out at 37cents a cup. I had to have one.

My old Saeco coffee machine
The new coffee maker came in a box, marked Expressi but upon examination, it turns out it is actually a K-fee machine, made in Germany but Swiss engineered. (So it must be good).

Swiss engineered K-fee coffee maker

That says it all

My new coffee maker in action
Now I just need some proper coffee cups but they are hard to find. I might have to go and look for them in a trade supply shop.

Aldi sell a variety of capsules rated by strength.  At this stage I use #10 for me and #4 for the Blogger who doesn't like strong coffee.

Mmmmm… very good
I'd be interested to hear from anyone out there if you are familiar with K-fee (or Aldi) coffee capsules.

16 January 2014

Visiting Aunty

During the Christmas Break, we met Donna's new husband. Donna used to teach with the Blogger when her husband was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour. It was very sad. So we were pleasantly surprised when she recently called to introduce Clyde, her new husband. I was very happy to learn that Clyde is the chief engineer at the ABC here in Queensland. That's the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the national broadcaster.

So, Clyde took us on a private tour of the new ABC complex at South Bank. For non Brisbane residents, the national broadcaster used to be in very cramped studios at Toowong and later all over the city while they were building this new complex. But now they are all together, ABC-TV, ABC-Radio, 4JJJ, Classic-FM and ABC ON LINE. I'm sure I missed some services.

For nearly twenty years I was broadcasting the Swiss Information Magazine here in Brisbane on Radio 4EB, a public broadcasting station, so I am extremely interested in anything to do with radio (or TV for that matter)

Me broadcasting on Brisbane Radio 4EB in the 80s

The new ABC complex is situated at South Bank opposite the Performing Arts Complex and the Brisbane Wheel. There was some controversy at the time when the previous state government granted the ABC the land to build their new home. The then right-wing opposition was up in arms about it. The conservatives have long claimed the ABC to left-wing biased which of course is total nonsense. They're always quiet when the ABC presents negative reports against the left or criticises unions.

The new ABC building at South Bank
The studios are state of the art, not a turntable, CD player or cart machine in sight. Everything is computerised.
It feels great sitting at one of the panels in one of the studios

Last year, the Blogger met her radio idol, Spencer Howson, Brisbane's number 1 breakfast radio host for a number of years. Spencer hosts the breakfast show on 612-ABC.
The Blooger sits in Spencer Howson's chair

The blogger with Spencer Howson
 Then we visited the ABC television news studios. One of my favourite ABC current affairs program is the 7.30 Report. Unfortunately only broadcast from Brisbane on a Friday night. But this studio is also used to broadcast the news at 7.00PM with Karina Carvalho.

Karina Cavalho News at 7 at the round desk

Someone else sitting at the round desk
After the visit, we had lunch at Olios in Grey Street. very nice food. All in all a great day out.

09 January 2014

Speed Sketching

My daughter Carol-Ann, sent me her first experiment with speed sketching with stop-motion video, drawing a flower.

How cool is that?

Here is the finished sketch, WOW!

06 January 2014


We are having a heatwave here. Typical Queensland summer. I must admit it has cooled off slightly. A couple of days ago it was 44ºC here (111.2 Deg F). It was the hottest day in history for this time of year. Just as well we don't have global warming, eh?

Last night was very uncomfortable. I was tossing and turning seriously contemplating getting up and turning the air conditioning on but desisted. I didn't want to wake up the Blogger who was peacefully  asleep next to me. But I think tonight I will.

Here is what we can expect today.

37ºC at midday, (98.6 Deg F) then it starts to cool off, from tomorrow on it'll be 28 - 29ºC for a week. Probably starting with a thunderstorm predicted for tonight. Bring it on.

Love the Queensland summer.

03 January 2014

A Rude Awakening

One of the things you have to put up with, living in Queensland or the sub-tropics, you share your house with geckos. Mostly they live outside and come out at night onto windows, fly screens and doors for their nightly feed. Sometimes, one or two of them find their way into the house. They are harmless and frightened little creatures and usually keep out of the way.

Since we have a monitored alarm system, we usually set the alarm at night to cover the garage and my office downstairs. (My cave, the Blogger calls it). Since I've retired and no longer run a business down there, there really is no need for it to be alarmed. But we've got it for when we go away, so we may as well use it.

Well imagine this scene a couple of night ago: It was 2 c'clock in the morning, we were both fast asleep when we awoke to this blaring racket right outside our bedroom wall. That's where the siren is located. 'The alarm went off,' I muttered. Next to me, the Blogger said, 'What alarm?' while she is madly scrambling for her iPhone. 'Our alarm,' I shouted over the racket. She just looked at me, puzzled. I pointed to the alarm panel on the bedroom wall, 'that alarm.' She finally got the message and clambered out of bed to the panel. There she looked at me, still puzzled. Both of our poor old hearts by now are racing ten to the dozen.  We both have a seperate code to use the alarm, so I gave her my code and told her to press it to stop the damn thing. That confused the poor girl totally. 'That's not right,' she said all the while punching in keys, obviously wrong ones.

Ok, I thought it's time for me to get out of bed. I jumped out of bed and raced over to the panel trying to enter the correct code. 

I looked and looked but I couldn't see a thing. Two reasons for that. Well three actually. It was 2 o'clock in the morning and the lights were out and I wasn't wearing glasses. The third reason, I have to have the cataract in my left eye operated on in February, which didn't help at that point. I clambered back over the bed to my bedside table feeling for my specs while the Blogger is still madly punching numbers at the panel. I'm thinking, the neighbours must be cheesed off with us. By now it feels this damn siren has been going off for hours, but then I remembered most of our neighbours were away, except one lot across the street who have a screeching bird in a cage in the back yard, that goes off any time of the day. So they don't count.

Bespectacled I eventually got back to the panel and after a few goes, entered the right number. Phew, the noise stopped, but now the phone went.  It was the alarm monitoring people. 'Is everything alright?' she asks. I explained what happened to her, saying I thought it might have been a gecko walking over one of the sensors downstairs. 'Better check, to make sure,' she said and 'good luck trying to go back to sleep.' I gingerly crept down the stairs and into the garage. No one there, then I crept into my office, turned on the lights, no one there. Longingly looked at my computers, all still there.

Heart still racing ten to the dozen, I locked up again downstairs and we climbed back into bed. The lady at the monitoring office was right though, it took us forever to get back to sleep.

I am presently spraying around the sensors to stop our little house mates getting near the sensors.