Sunday, April 17, 2016

Signage Part 2

This was posted right by a picnic area that was deserted.

I think calling a brown snake "shy" sort of misses the point.

Naked lights?  I've been missing out.

Um, no.  This does not work.

Neither does this.

Where did you get Hepatitis C?

Captain Snag and the Weinerbago food truck?

When I suggested that Tessa stand by this sign, she managed to look simultaneously offended and embarrassed by me.  I'm pretty sure that defines the teenage set.  Regardless, she couldn't argue with the logic.  Frozen kids probably don't smell like much of anything.

What can you say about this?

Stairs!  Woot!

Ride the lightening!

This gave me a chill.  What is up with that threat about being in paradise with these over medicated people I've never met?

And a free public event involving paradise and eternal happiness?  That is just going to piss off Ticketmaster.  I wouldn't be surprised if they barred supreme beings from using their stadiums.  If Pearl Jam couldn't beat them in the 90s ...

Hmmmm.  A lot of smiling going on here.

The influencers sounds like a better name for a rock band or a B horror movie, though perhaps services here strive to combine both elements.

Like so much in Australia, this sign seemed friendly from far away.  It's only when you get closer that you realize you've been threatened the whole time.

And now for the lavatory section of the blog.

A testament to the possibility that people are not smart and/or are overly hopeful.  Yet, in a universe as uncertain as ours, how can we really be sure that removing the sign won't make it work?  And isn't "work" a relative term?  If someone ignores the sign and uses the toilet, isn't it fair to say that the toilet "worked" for them?

The Crouchers Strike Back.

I can hear them now.  "Oy.  Don't like me crouching over the toilet, eh?  I'll skip it altogether.  Never trusted it anyway."

In all fairness, I think we should consider the possibility that the "incident" that must have precipitated the sign's creation may not have been an expression of scatalogical defiance.  As a father of twins, I'm something of an expert in how to put down a scatalogical rebellion.  It requires a ruthless hand and absolutely no sense of smell.  I won't subject you to the details, but lets just say it involved a loose diaper, a cream colored carpet, and an hour of "drying time."

So perhaps the culprit wasn't intending it as a statement.  Perhaps the "inevitable" occurred prematurely, sometime between dropping trow and planting cheek.  You'd probably have to get a forensic expert in there to examine the scattershot pattern and it wouldn't be pretty, but it could exonerate the crouchers.

After reading the sign, your immediate impulse is to look down.  Not a good impulse.  Better just not to know.  You get through moments like this by focusing on the possibility that the figure was doing yoga.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

E for Ethel

Just a quick plug for our favorite coffee haus - you know, if you ever find yourself in North Adelaide and in dire need of a latte.  E for Ethel is awesome.

I can't speak for others, but Ethels is definitely in our top 12 places to eat in Australia.

This is where Amy and I have spent most of our mornings working over one to three cups of java, although by the third cup I'm not so much working as paranoid and hyperventilating.  On Saturdays, we stop by for an awesome brunch.  Creatures of habit - I get the smashed avo on rye, the girls get the pancakes with ice cream, and Amy gets the scones.

Ethels was also approved by the bunster, which is important, because that pretty much makes or breaks a place for us.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


One of my two astute readers noted that I neglected to mention a critical part of the last blog.

Face painting.

Is there anything more important?  Prior to our visit to the winery, we stopped by the local farmer's market, grabbed a coffee, and splurged for face paint.  I entered with two daughters and left with fairy wings and a rainbow princess.

While we're at it, I should also include the tree hugging incident at Seppeltsfield.  My daughters blamed the bunny.


For my birthday, we decided to drive north up to the Barossa Valley and return to Seppletsfield, producer of our favorite muscat and port.  We decided to leave the Laser at home, opting to take the Martin for a spin.

Seppeltsfield.  Um, it's off to the left.

This is the storage facility at Seppeltsfield that houses the vast vats of port or "the building where Bakkila would spend all his time."

This pathway doesn't hold any significance.  It's therefore a great example of blog bloat - bloggers posting unnecessary pictures in lieu of having something real to say. 

Tessa practicing her assertiveness.  "Daddy, I'm going in here!  I think I saw a cute boy."

The way they used to store port - just toss it behind the shed until it's old enough to serve.

I'll just apologize now.  I took a LOT of pictures of barrels.

The way they store port now - toss it in a basement.

This room houses several hundred barrels of port in various stages of aging.  Each barrel is opened when it hits 100 years, by which time 2/3 of the liquid is gone.  The official story is that the liquid evaporated through a natural process, but I'm pretty sure that "natural process" is a drunk ass named Larry.

We found my year.  1970.  I'll be back.  By 2070, I should be able to afford a glass.

The guide had to ask us not to hug the barrels.  Several times.

Having seen me stand by the Aston Martin, the tour guide thought that I might be in the market for some 100 year old port, which goes for $2k for the "big bottle."  As a basis of comparison, the big bottle is about the size of my middle finger, which I was tempted to display prominently upon hearing the price.  Older ports apparently hit the $10k mark.  I sniffed and said "Oy.  I reckon I'd just prefer a Coopahs."  Our guide muttered something about "gallows humor" and ushered us in the direction of the more affordable, non-alcoholic raspberry cordial.

Tessa perfected her port tasting etiquette by practicing with raspberry cordial.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Rainforest

On Day 2, we took a bus trip to a train trip to a small village in a rainforest where we rode an Army Duck in a circle so we could take the Skyrail back to the bus.

Tessa was psyched!

A whole host of new modes of transport to experience and scream about in public.  When you see her next, don't freak out when she screams "Skyrail" at random intervals.  It is very unlikely that a wayward gondola is dropping out of the sky.  But (because you never know), I'd still dive to the left.

This shot was taken on the bus to the rain forest.  I looked outside and noticed ... something.

You're thinking, "I can't really make that out."  That is (apparently) the WHOLE POINT.

This genius, Call of Duty superplayer, and future candidate for the Darwin Awards painted his car in black and gray CAMO.  Because the last thing you want on a rainy day is for other drivers to see your car clearly and easily.

I'm guessing he was pretty pissed when he saw his premiums went way up.

While at Kuranda, we had a chance to see the rainforest with the Army Ducks.  Now, I was a bit nervous on this part of the trip.  From my experience, ducks can be capricious and unpredictable and it seemed the height of irresponsibility to give them semi-automatic weapons.  But I figured the rainforest was more dangerous than I realized.  

I was just as surprised as you probably are to find that the Army Ducks are not a group of heavily armed mallards.  The DUKW are six-wheel-drive amphibious assault vehicles.

Something no military wants to see.  Ever.

This is what the military want.  Steely eyed determination in the face of distraction.

We attended a demonstration of aboriginal dancing and the performers made the ill advised decision to go for audience participation.

Once again, Tessa's hand shot up with the speed of a frog's tongue.  The woman's expression tells you what it's like to sit next to Tessa when she's told to stay in one place.

We were then invited to spend some time with the friendly neighborhood croc, also known as Jack the Rippah.  Jack was a 17 foot 1600 pound crocodile.  He was also a confirmed bachelor.  And by confirmed bachelor, I mean that he ate every female croc the zoo placed in his pen.  Twelve female crocs.  As far as I can tell, this is the definition of screwing yourself over.  Zookeepers' fervent hopes to breed supercrocs proved unsustainable.

Watching Jack watch me, it occurred to me that this is exactly the time when you want some heavily armed mallards.

I have the say that the sign was both helpful and not so helpful.  After seeing the sign, I realized that Jack was just waiting for some stupid American psychologist to lean over the railing and get a good look at the size of those chompers.

Unfortunately after seeing the sign, part of me wanted to do it.

Drew doing his best King Kong vs Mothra imitation.

This is also how he looked a few hours later, when he ran up and told me that "a big snake" slithered across the path in front of him.

It's also the look he had when Tessa asked to sit next to him on the bus.

I'm taking suggestions for captions on this.  Post in the comments.  Winners get lifetime access to my blog.

My entry:  "This hot dog tastes funny."


"You know, I do have colleagues who glance at your blog."

View from the Skyrail.  We were told that there was a stunning rainforest below.  Drew squinted out into the fog and said "Really think there's a rainforest down there?  I mean, I don't see one.  What do you think would happen if I opened this door ..." 

After listening to me complain about the unremitting pain in my feet, Drew suggested that we review my footwear.  He looked closely at my sandals and observed that it would probably be less painful to staple tire treads to my feet.

I left my sandals in Cairns.

It turns out that there is a worldwide shortage of Berkinstocks.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Reef

I recognize this will drive Kathy crazy but ... Back to Uncle Drew!

The day after Drew arrived, we forced him to get back on a plane and fly to Cairns.  We figured, hey you slept from 10 pm to 3 am after a 28 hour transit ... you should be good.  We arrived in Cairns without incident and headed out for a walk along the boardwalk.  What is most surprising is that Drew does not appear homicidal or unconscious in this picture despite the fact that he was probably both.

This photo represents the sum total of affection shown between our twins during the trip.

It looks so sweet, doesn't it?

What you don't know is there was at least an 80% chance that Lily was going for a headlock and missed.

Drew and I walked along the boardwalk and I pointed out the sights, which included this warning sign.  It's a lot like the town of Amity from Jaws.  Hey, come on over to our croc and jellyfish infested beaches.  We've got GELATTO!

Drew and I walked a bit in silence, each lost in our own thoughts about life, children, politics, and possibly the Pacific Trash Vortex.

Then Drew turned to me and said "you really think there's crocs down there?"  He squinted off into the distance.  "Because I don't see any.  And I figure I'd see a croc if there was a croc down there."

I thought about his logic and then pointed out that a tourist destination seems unlikely to post hazardous signs everywhere unless there is a hazard.

Drew responded by saying "What do you think would happen if I climbed down that ladder?"

I said, "I think I'd get to see a croc."

We never had a chance to test that hypothesis because Drew was distracted by a playground with an even more chilling sign.  It likely explained the architect's overzealous use of brown on the playground equipment.

This is a sign that essentially provides a groundbreaking heads up that babies shit unexpectedly.  The necessity of this sign caused me to question the innate goodness of humans.

The next morning, we headed off to the Great Barrier Reef!  Well, not immediately.  There was a brief delay during which Drew and I waited outside for Amy and the kids (who left about three minutes before us).  After ten minutes, I began to worry that maybe "wait outside" had been confusing.  I returned to the apartment lobby and after a brief but frantic search found Amy waiting for me half a block in the wrong direction.  This happens more often than you'd expect by chance.

The weather that morning was ominous, with a 70% chance of precipitation and a 100% chance of twin meltdown.  Within a ten minute walk to the dock, we had already exhausted both of my entertaining anecdotes and I'd already answered the question "when will we get there" six times.  At the time of this picture, I had resorted to shouting "WE GET THERE WHEN WE GET THERE" to all questions.  I asked them to pose for a picture, figuring there was at least a 50/50 chance they'd fall in and I could make a break for it.

Just after leaving, the weather started to clear.

Drew filled out his diving forms while Lily asked about all of the potential dangers associated with snorkeling.  At each answer, she looked at us like we were insane.

"You breathe through a TUBE?!"


"We have to wear a suit because of STINGERS?"


"There could be SHARKS?!"

Tessa lost no time suiting up.


Our first dive spot, Michaelmas Cay.  As we approached, the captain asked if anyone on board was afraid of birds.  Afraid of birds? we sniggered.  Who's afraid of birds.  Well, whoever the poor bastard was, they had a bad time at the Cay.  There were hundreds, if not thousands, of loud and disgruntled sea birds nesting on this strip of sand.  Our goal was to get out of the boat onto the sand and get into the water before we were attacked by the birds.  I was pretty sure I got a good shot of the birds until I looked at my photos.  They're all to the left. 

Drew telling me he is not afraid of birds.  Or showing me the sign for "shark."

I went on two dives and (to everyone's surprise) managed to surface on both of them.  The most simultaneously impressive and startling creature was a jellyfish the size of a popcorn bowl.  It probably tells you a lot about me to know that I often judge the size and weight of objects in relation to a popcorn bowl.  The jellyfish just floated there in the dark, watching me.  Pulsing with an evil purple light.  Och.  Been reading too much Rowan of Rin.  No one ever told me the sign for jellyfish so I just started thrashing around and blowing bubbles out of my regulator.  Although the dive guide ignored me, the bubbles effectively blew the jellyfish into deeper waters.

There was also a fish that nibbled parasites off of other fish.  Our dive guide had us hold our hands out so the fish could do some nibbling.  I have to say, it spent a lot more time on Drew's hand than I expected.

When I came up from my second dive, Tessa grabbed my arm and said "Daddy, why didn't you say hi to me?"  Apparently, she was snorkeling immediately above where Drew and I were diving and was shouting "Dad!  Dad!  Dad!"  She was apparently pretty pissed that I ignored her.

After some exhausting snorkeling, Tessa spent a good amount of time contemplating the ceiling.

A little uncle time.

Drew is incredibly psyched in this picture.  After the trip, he told us that his primary goal was to avoid barfing in the bathroom of the boat.  After watching him grip the side of the boat in a pale, sweaty, desperate manner, that was pretty much everyone's primary goal.  We all pitched in to get him a certificate for not vomiting.

Lily, the consummate professional, even found some time to practice for an upcoming regional meet.

As a final note, I hate Subway.  I hate hate hate Subway.  Subway is run by sadists who seem to know that my children will only eat Subway sandwiches and, in anticipation of that, close all Subway locations in Cairns but neglect to tell the locals, who keep directing us to another Subway location.  So, just as a hypothetical, imagine Uncle Drew, Tessa and I walking around Cairns (after a day snorkeling/diving) sweaty and despairing and dazed in an ultimately fruitless quest for a sandwich that would pass muster with a picky six year old.

The only thing we managed to find was bats.  Hundreds of fruit bats roughly the size of my head chirping merrily above us.

This is probably the part of the blog where Kat is saying "oh c'mon.  Bats?  Really?"

Well, they're either bats or flying possums.  You decide which is creepier.