Sunday, September 16, 2018

Lack of client focus

A service provider  in the USA contacted me asking if I'd like to engage them for a conference I am organising in 2020 here in Australia.

They wanted to set up a Skype meeting. I said 'ok'.

They then send me a list of options for meeting times.

Two problems. First, all the times they gave were in Central US time, which was very annoying as I then had to work out what times those corresponded to here in Melbourne. Second, and even more annoyingly, all the times they offered were at ridiculously late hours of the night (1 am, really?).

I wrote back a polite email pointing all of this out and said that I don't think it's going to work. They have since sent me two emails apologising for the mistake. I'm normally a very forgiving kinda guy but lack of client focus is a big fail. Too many alarm bells.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Two deaths

A friend from my time working in the US posted a note on messenger this week saying that someone we knew had died. Will accidentally fell out of a boat. He was 35.

A day later, a close friend reminded me of the tragic death of another young man we both knew. Jared died many years ago but I guess the circumstances of his death still haunts my friend who felt compelled to write about it for a national newspaper. Jared was a scientist working in the US. He was driving home late one night after work. A drunk driver crashed into the back of his car at an intersection. Both cars burst into flames. Bystanders managed to rescue the drunk driver but Jared couldn't be rescued. He was 33.

Two deaths. Both sad. One was a tragic accident. The other was entirely avoidable.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Parallel visions

I went to see the new Baldessin/Whiteley: Parallel Visions exhibition at the NGV today.

I assume that Brett Whiteley will probably be the big drawcard to the exhibition as most people would be familiar with his work.

I, on the other hand, was there to see the Baldessins.

I'm a huge fan of George Baldessin's work, long before I even knew who Baldessin was.

Ever since I was a kid, I have admired the giant pear sculptures that sat on the front lawn of the National Gallery in Canberra.

I only found out a few years ago that they were sculpted by Baldessin (I hadn't even heard of him until then).

Hopefully this exhibition will showcase what a fantastic Australian artist he was.


I caught up with a friend mid week for dumplings in the city.

Towards the end of our meal, four customers walked in, two of whom were transgender.

Before the customers had even taken their seats, I could hear the waiters commenting to each other in Chinese. "They're men," one of them said.

I was so disappointed, especially given the rainbow sticker on the front door of the restaurant.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Henry Golding

And here are some more pictures of Mr Golding...

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians has attracted a lot of media attention. Not since  The Joy Luck Club (which was released way back in 1993) has a 'mainstream' Hollywood film featured a predominantly Asian cast.

It's been interesting following the media hype surrounding this film – and the lofty expectations. For example, I was surprised to see the actors being criticised for not using their platform at the movie premier to promote Asian fashion designers (seriously?).

The strikingly handsome lead actor, Henry Golding, has copped flack from some media circles for not being Asian enough (he is of English-Malaysian ancestry).

Some commentators have even criticised the film for lack of diversity, suggesting that the film should be renames Crazy Rich East Asians instead.

Get a grip people.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Shrimp stink

I decided to roast some chicken drumsticks marinated in shrimp paste. Big mistake.

The whole apartment stinks to high heaven. I'm worried the stink has probably leached into the corridor and might soon be pissing off my neighbours. I hope they don't come knocking on my door.

 I now recall my German friend complaining about the smell of shrimp paste coming into her apartment from her Asian neighbours. I've become that neighbour.

Saturday, August 11, 2018


I'm in the USA for a conference.

Despite having lived in the US for 11 months, I still get taken aback by just how culturally different it is from Australia.

The striking differences begin upon arrival. The American airport experience feels like a cattle yard (I'm surprised the guards don't use actual cattle prods). The experience starts when clearing immigration and, if you're travelling domestically, continues right up to the gate of the connecting flight, where everyone is required to form one of 5 lines based on whether you are a premium flyer, a first class passenger or, if you're in economy, whether you are seated in the front, middle or back of the plane. Oh, and if you are an American servicemen, you get to go on the plane first.

American food is excessive. On board the plane, I was served a hamburger. Yes, a hamburger! With a side of potato salad and an apple pie. Last night I went to an American diner, which looked like a set from Happy Days. Not wanting to have another hamburger for dinner, I settled on the Ruben sandwich based on the waiter's recommendation. It was big, meaty, and coated with cheese.  Tasty, huge and very unhealthy. That seems to sum up American cuisine.

Today, I slept and then went for an early dinner. I decided to go for Vietnamese.

Sunday, August 5, 2018


Last night, Nathan and I drove to Inverloch to celebrate his maternal grandmother's 90th birthday at the Esplanade Hotel.

Even though Nathan and I have been together for what seems like a million years, I'm still meeting new relatives for the first time (both sides of his family appear to be highly fertile).

On this occasion, I met a new cousin, his wife and two kids. They were lovely. The cousin is a professional photographer and also does some videography work for the ABC involving drones. He was telling me about the various accidents he has had with the drone's propeller. I didn't realise they were so dangerous.

A few of Nathan's other cousins appear to have had new children. Its a sad reflection of how rarely we catch up with them that one of the cousins now has a six year old daughter, and the last time I saw her was at her wedding! The daughter's name is Eden (her father is a born again Christian).

Nathan's grandmother was in good spirits. The last time I saw her was a few months ago in hospital and she wasn't looking too great. She was clearly very happy to be surrounded by so many grand kids and great grandkids. She's actually became a great great grandmother already several years ago.

The blokes at the table next to ours were clearly perplexed to see an Asian guy amongst all the Caucasians. I think they were trying to figure out what my relationship was with the rest of the mob. Nathan's grandmother, mum and aunt do this weird thing where they kiss family members on the lips. I feel a bit odd about this and always try to go for a side kiss but occasionally still get a lip plant. That must have added to the confusion for the blokes at the neighbouring table.

Saturday, August 4, 2018


I recently came back from a two day work trip to Kuala Lumpur to meet some fellow biologists (see picture of wonderful tropical insects).  It was my first visit to Malaysia.

The hotel where we were staying was quite popular with tourists from the Middle East and, indeed, most of the guests were Arab. In that respect, as a Muslim country, Malaysia is very different to the other places I have visited in Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan). The hotel breakfast had a wonderful spread of buffet options from around the world – but not a single slice of regular bacon (aside from the turkey bacon). I went for Arab, Malay and Chinese breakfast options.

Speaking of food, the local cuisine was, of course, amazing. My only regret was not getting to sample the infamous Malay durian (and it was apparently a bumper durian season too!). One of the colleagues I met actually lives on a durian plantation and he showed me a photo on his phone of durians piled on his back verandah. I was very jealous.

On the last night, we went to an uber fancy restaurant that specialised in modern South American cuisine. Yes, I would have happily eaten Malaysian food the entire time I was there, but I was on a work trip and others wanted to try this restaurant. Besides, the restaurant was highly recommended by a local. It was superb, although none of the items we ordered looked anything like the food I ate in my travels through South America (see below).

Thursday, July 19, 2018


I inadvertently got someone fired today.

There is construction work taking place adjacent to my office and a lot of tradies on site. One of them was smoking in a toilet cubicle this morning and filled the entire men's room with smoke.  I mentioned this to our School manager.

My intention was that our School manager would then speak to the construction manager who would then have a word with the tradies to inform them not to smoke in the toilet.

Well, things didn't go the way I expected.

Whilst sitting in my office, I heard the construction manager walk up to two Chinese tradies working outside my office demanding to know which one of them had been smoking in the toilet.

At first, each of the tradies said it wasn't them. The manager pressed on and was using all kinds of obscenities. Eventually, one of the tradies owned up to it.

He was asked to leave.

I felt really bad.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sunny weekend

I made the most of the fine weather this weekend.

On Saturday, I took the dog on an epic walk. We first headed towards Port Melbourne. 

On the way, I spotted this beautiful wattle already in full bloom.
 Truffles and I stopped briefly to look at the Spirit of Tasmania before heading off to the beach for a run.

We then made our way to Albert Park and walked around the lake. According to the pedometer on my phone, we had walked twelve kilometres.

Today, Nathan and I went to Chinatown for lunch. We had intended to go for yum cha but all of the better restaurants were already full so we went to Shandong Mama instead.
 Tonight I made minestrone.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Walking the dog

Truffles and I braved the cold yesterday and went for a nice walk. She was suitably rugged up—and so was I. We did about 10km in total, including a brief stop over at the Shrine of Remembrance.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Adut Akech

I remember a couple of years ago, David Jones put out a fashion catalogue with this incredible model on the cover. It was a bold move. And I remember being struck by the beauty of the image.
The image, sadly, sparked controversy; a consumer complained to David Jones about the cover not being representative of Australia.

Well, the model at the centre of the controversy, Adut Akech, is Australian and—judging by her very busy schedule walking for the likes of Valentino and Chanel in Paris recently—has clearly been doing very well.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Career change

I'm happy being an academic. I love the balance of teaching and research. I love the academic freedom and the flexibility I have in terms of my work time. At the same time, I hope I'd be brave enough to be able to make the switch to something else if the job no longer excites me.

I was at a birthday dinner for a friend last night and started chatting to someone I hadn't met before. I found out that he had previously worked in a circus, been a dancer in a night club, and is now working for a bank. That's quite a diverse career path!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Home alone

The dog and I have had the apartment to ourselves these last couple of days while Nathan embarked on an epic road trip from Melbourne to the Gold Coast.

Friends of ours have decided to move up north. It turns out that the cost of getting cars transported can be quite high. So, our friend's husband left on Saturday to drive one of the family cars up to their new home. Nathan and the friend drove up with the second car early yesterday.

Most of my long road trips have been for work.  Can't say I'm much of a fan of the driving, but my trips do involve plenty of stops along the way, mostly to collect animals for scientific research, which makes it fun.

Friday, June 15, 2018


The new NGV winter masterpieces show is in full swing. I'm waiting for the crowd to level off a bit before attempting a visit. I'm particularly excited to see this Rothko.

Thursday, June 14, 2018


Nathan's friend (see last post) was telling us about her new beau (of eight weeks). He has an AVO against him (all 'made up' by the ex-wife according to Nathan's friend) and disapproves of men entering her house because it is disrespectful to him. She thinks he's wonderful. We hear alarm bells.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

One way street

Nathan and I spent the day hanging out with one of his friends who is visiting from interstate with her young son, who we adore.

Some friendships are very one sided. This is a prime example.

The entire day's conversation was all about her (and her wonderful new boyfriend). Nathan paid for brunch (she didn't even offer). In the afternoon, the friend asked us to take her son to our place because she needed to have a nap. Tonight, Nathan and I were both surprised when the friend and her son walked straight out of the restaurant after we finished dinner. The expectation was that we would pay for their meal, which we did (again). There was not even a 'thank you'.

And now Nathan has gone to the hotel to baby sit the son while the friend attends an industry event.

How bloody stupid are we?

Sunday, June 3, 2018


Last week, Nathan and I made a trip to the country to see the Marimekko exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery.
Marimekko is an iconic Finnish textile and fashion brand. Having lived and worked in Finland, I quickly became a fan of some of their printed designs, which are often bold, bright and gaudy. These qualities seem to contrast with the quiet, calm and introspective qualities I tend to associate with the Finnish people. And yet the Finns absolutely love Marimekko. I saw their psychedelic textiles—many are reissues of designs from the 1960s—hanging as curtains in my friend's apartments and I see them worn by little old Finnish ladies in the streets of Helsinki.
A Marimekko exhibition in rural Victoria seems a little odd but I think it reflects a resurgence in the popularity of the brand here in Australia in the last few years, with several stores opening in Sydney and Melbourne.

I particularly enjoyed seeing the actual paintings that eventually were made into the printed textiles.


This adorable creature is a cowfish. It was the highlight of my recent visit to a pet shop. I wish I had the room in my apartment to set up a marine aquarium.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Flowers and stick insects

I had a meeting at the zoo yesterday and was given the chance to go behind the scenes to check out their conservation work with these critically endangered beauties.
Picked up some less critically endangered beauties from the South Melbourne markets this morning on my morning walk with Truffles.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Saturday routine

Nathan works on Saturdays. We (i.e. Nathan, Truffles and I) all pile into the car in the morning to go with him to work.

The dog and I then walk home together. It's good exercise. We always go pass the South Melbourne markets and I usually end up getting some flowers (Truffles usually gets a dog treat from the florist). We are both happy.

The past few weeks, I've also taken to catching the tram out to Victoria Street so I can have Vietnamese noodle soup for lunch. Last week I had pho. This week I had bun bo hue.

After my big meal, I decided to walk down to Bridge Road. I visited a commercial gallery that was having an exhibition of 'sharp edge abstraction'. It was food for the soul. Stunning.

Back home, I pottered around the apartment for a few hours and then it was time for the dog and I to walk back to Nathan's work. The dog insists on sniffing every tree along the way so it takes us a while but I don't mind. We tend to get to Nathan's office early and wait for him to clock off. We then pile back in the car and drive home together.

That's my Saturday routine. And I love it.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Old school

I signed up for a new Singapore Airlines frequent flyer card several months ago. I waited and waited. It never arrived. Naturally, I blamed Australia Post.

I rang up the airline the other day to see if I could get a replacement as I'm due to travel with the airline for work in July.

The guy on the phone (who, by the way, picked up after one waiting!) was very polite. He told me that the card has gone digital and I would have received instructions via email when I validated my card on how to get it onto my phone. Ooops.

Sorry Australia Post.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Glad to reach the end of the week

Something traumatic happened at work early this week that impacted a lot of colleagues.  I was in crisis management mode for most of Monday dealing with logistics. I thought I was coping well until I got home and had a bit of a cry. I felt much better after that.

I have to say that when things go bad, it was really heartening to see how everybody just stepped up to support each other. I'm fortunate to have great colleagues.

I'm just hoping for a relaxing and uneventful weekend to regroup.

The Field

I visited The Field Revisited exhibition at the NGV last week. Evidently, it was quite the landmark exhibition when it opened 50 years ago – and sparked a lot of controversy.

Unfortunately, the NGV wasn't able to track down all of the works from the original exhibition and is seeking public help to figure out the whereabouts of these 'lost' works.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Livers and a movie

We decided to go for a movie today.

I've been trying to convince Nathan to go and see A Quiet Place but he wasn't keen on horror. It seems that Emily Blunt (from The Devil Wears Prada) is not sufficient enough of a drawcard to entice Nathan into seeing that movie with me. Instead, we settled on the gay teen flick Love, Simon

The movie was showing at Cinema Nova so we headed out to Lygon Street for lunch first. We ended up going to Tiamo, which does a terrific chicken liver dish (I was in the mood for liver after seeing it served on My Kitchen Rules last night). Nathan went for the osso bucco.

The cinema was quite busy. I guess going to see a movie is a popular way to spend Anzac Day.

The movie seemed to have attracted three types of audience members: gay men, single women, and teenagers. Indeed, there was a whole row of teenage girls sitting at the very front and a whole row of older gay gentlemen sitting at the back, with the single ladies scattered everywhere in between.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the film, which had a decent story line and a good mix of funny and sad parts. It turned out to be a very pleasant day.


Anyone who knows me knows I love a good Aesop product, whether it be a bottle of hand wash, the latest perfume, their room spray, or even shampoo for the dog. At some point, I've become obsessed with the brand (and no, this is not a paid endorsement).

Apart from their products, I'm also totally crushing on their stores. Each one is different. All are exquisitely designed.

One of my favourites is their shop in North Melbourne.

Nathan and I took Truffles to the dog park on Sunday and, on our way back, decided to stop along Errol Street for some tea and cake. Afterwards, we walked over to Aesop's just to look at the store.

The lady working there came out and we ended up having a chat. Apparently the sinks and taps are antiques that were brought back from Vienna. And the display bench was previously from a Sydney museum. So beautiful.

Pilfered pilea

The current obsession with indoor plants (driven largely by hipster types) seems to have no end in sight.

And among the most coveted of indoor plants is this beauty known as Pilea peperomioides or the Chinese money plant. 
Pilea used to be virtually non-existent here in Australia (which made it even more coveted). I've started to see it in a few specialist nurseries, often at extremely high prices. It's suppose to be super easy to grow but still remains rare in this country.

So, I was quite surprised to see a young lady with a large Pilea on the tram in the city last weekend. It was such a rare sight that I was almost tempted to ask her where she got it from. But I didn't.

And then earlier this week, I saw this on the Instagram page of one of my favourite nurseries in Fitzroy.
The accompanying message read, as follows:

Yesterday somebody stole our store baby. This is our Pilea a year ago and it has grown a fair bit since then but remained in this lovely blue pot by @lucyvanstoneceramics

If anybody knows where she ended up we'd love her back. If you see anybody sharing a pic of her on social media please share with us. She wasn't the most impressive Pilea in town but she was ours and belonged to a staff member.

Could the Pilea I saw on the tram be the same plant that was stolen from the nursery? 

Unfortunately, I can't remember any details that would be even vaguely useful (if it is, indeed, the same plant). 


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Rabbit stew

My colleague went ferreting for rabbits a few weeks ago.

He is not much of a meat eater so he gave me one of the rabbits. I was initially very excited about making something delicious with it and had planned to cook the rabbit the evening I got it.

However, upon seeing the skinned carcass, I got a bit squeamish and popped it into the freezer, where it has sat...until now.

Today, I got up early, found a recipe with a nice picture (see below) and went to Woollies to buy the ingredients.
I got home, took the carcass out of the fridge, and took it out of bag to defrost.

I immediately started to retch.

I'm such a wuss. It's weird. I have no problem chopping up whole chickens or ducks but I think the rabbit just looks too mammalian. I guess I am too accustomed to getting my meat from the supermarket, already processed and looking less like whole animals.

Anyhow, the contorted rabbit carcass is sitting in the sink. I'm going to have to chop it up and cook it – whether I like it or not.

Monday, April 9, 2018

The guy on the street corner

I hate being solicited by people on street corners asking for donations.

Today, I had a rather unpleasant encounter on Oxford Street with a young man working for Oxfam.

Firstly, I feel a bit of context is justified as normally, I would just walk past without making eye contact or politely decline the invitation for a 'chat'. But earlier, in Hyde Park, I was asked by someone else from Oxfam to sign a petition, which I agreed to do (because I do believe in their cause).

Thinking it was for the same purpose, I engaged with the young man to tell him I had already spoken to her colleague.

Big mistake.

It seemed that Oxfam have teams of people out in the city trying to engage members of the public for multiple purposes today.

The guy who stopped me on Oxford Street was wanting me to sign up for monthly donations to provide clean drinking water to help people from war afflicted regions.

Once I figured out what this guy was up to, I was trapped. I politely declined his request for a donation, which was when he started to lay on the guilt trip.

He went on and on about how we are living in an affluent country and that we should all be doing more.

At this point, I should have just walked away.

But, no. Instead, I told him that I am already a supporter of Oxfam, that I buy stuff from the Oxfam shop, and that I used to volunteer my time to door knock for the organisation when I was younger. I told him that I felt I already did enough.

That's when he pulled out the passive aggressive line "It's interesting how most people feel they need to justify why they do not want to donate."

I lost my shit. I told him that his adversarial manner is a complete turn off and risk damaging the organisation.

Realising I was now wasting his time, he then tried to say that he no longer wanted to talk to me.

Now, that must be a first.

I reminded him that he was the one who approached me and I proceeded to rant on for another 10 minutes telling him how much damage he was doing to his organisation and how not to ostracise people who were already on the same team.

Nathan, who was standing next to me the entire time, eventually dragged me away.

An artist's artist

I've been reading up on an Australian artist called Guy Warren.
Guy is in his 90s and is still active (his most recent show was earlier this year in Sydney). And judging by the interviews I've seen on youtube, the man's mind is still super sharp.

Guy is an artist's artist. He is a war veteran, an Archibald prize winner, and is highly respected. One art critic described him as a 'much underrated artist'. Looking at his pictures and the long list of public institutions that have his works in their collections, it's astounding he isn't more well known. I stumbled across his paintings online and immediately fell in love with them.

 Meanwhile,  I see 'artists' with far less talent flogging off mass produced work of extremely low quality having much higher public profiles.


I'm in Sydney with Nathan attending a friend's 40th.

The party was on Saturday night at a pub in Willougby. It was a smallish gathering, was fairly mellow affair, and I had great time.

Yesterday, we met up with another friend (also up in Sydney for the birthday) and her two teenage kids for a trip to the zoo. It's been a while since I've visited Taronga. I forgot how spectacular the views are looking back across the harbour towards the city skyline. I was especially envious of the giraffes, whose enclosure offered the best vantage point.

Nathan accompanied our friend's son on a high ropes 'adventure' at the zoo. It basically involves putting yourself into a harness and traversing obstacles in the tree tops above some of the animal enclosures. Two observations. First, Nathan is even more uncoordinated up in the air than he is on the ground (though I concede that walking on ropes does require a great deal of balance and coordination). Second, the ropes course is very demanding and Nathan was well and truly exhausted by the end of the session. Our friend's son, by contrast, barely broke a sweat, and wanted to go back for another round. Nathan said no.

We made our way back to the city by ferry. I had not seen the new (and controversial) Barangaroo development and I have to say I was quite impressed. The new ferry terminal connects visitors along the foreshore right up to Darling Harbour and judging by all the restaurants and tourists, I think it will be good for Sydney tourism.

Last night we met up again with our birthday friend and her family, and went up to the Centrepoint tower for a buffet dinner. I didn't realise that Centrepoint has had a name change and is now known as Sydney tower. Anyhow, the interior of the shopping centre is far more opulent than what I remembered when I visited there as a youngster.

I'd never been to the buffet up in the revolving section of the tower before. It was expensive so I had high expectations. The food was kind of 'meh' for the price. I foolishly challenged our friend's teenage son (the one who did the high ropes course with Nathan) to an oyster eating contest. I won (naturally) but downing oysters for competition is not as pleasant as eating them for enjoyment. I was impressed by the kid's determination. He polished off 15, which was quite remarkable for a 13 year old. I remember detesting raw oysters when I was his age.

We are flying back to Melbourne later today.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018


If I had a spare $125K, I'd consider buying this Sidney Nolan I saw at a commercial gallery today.


I had an extra day off today so decided to see the new NGV exhibition Colony: Australia 1770-1861.

The exhibition was arranged into themes, some of which made a lot of sense (e.g. European exploration before 1770; Landing and settlement at Lane Cove), but others seemed a bit random to me (e.g. Newcastle 1804: Tasmanian Aboriginal people). In any event, the exhibition brought back memories of grade 5 history lessons with Miss Eccleston.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Canberra and buffet musings

I'm back in Canberra for part of the Easter break.

I flew up on Saturday afternoon. The plane was near empty. It was terrific. Boarding was a breeze (no queues) and it took only a few minutes to disembark the aircraft.

We went to my folk's favourite buffet restaurant on Sunday. We got there 30 minutes early to line up at the cashier.

Mum and dad told me that the Chinese guy at the front of the queue goes there everyday. He eats, then goes for a walk outside the venue, and then comes back inside the restaurant and does a second bout of eating. That's taking 'all-you-can-eat' to an entirely new level. I seriously can't be bothered.

I stood behind a woman waiting for her to decide which piece of chicken she wanted. She was very indecisive. She picked a piece up with the tongs, held it in mid air for a brief second, and then placed the chicken back onto the server. She then took another piece of chicken and put it on her plate. Alas, it turns out she wanted that first piece of chicken after all, so she placed the piece that was already on her plate back on the server and took back the original piece. All the while, I patiently waited for her to finish so I could grab a piece of f*&king chicken.

Oh, and the roast duck. It's my pet peeve that the chefs at this place are super slow with replenishing the roast duck. I love duck so it drives me nuts.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Happy Birthday

A big happy birthday to everyone's favourite weatherman, Nate Byrne (and his magnificent dimples).

Sharks and dots

Damien Hirst, the British artist famed for his sharks (and other animals) in formaldehyde, has produced a new body of work which he entitled 'the veil series'.

The similarities with aboriginal art from the Utopia region of Central Australia are remarkable.
And so are the US$500,000-1,700,000 price tags.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

What were they thinking?

I was fortunate enough to visit the National Gallery of Australia's exhibition Indigenous Australia when I was in Berlin.

The exhibition was touted as masterworks from the NGA's extensive collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. And for me, it was certainly nice to see so many familiar works on display on the other side of the world.

But I was left wondering what the German audience would have thought of the show.

Oddly, there was not a single gallery label in sight. According to the lady at the front desk, "labels are no longer fashionable".

In my view, the NGA missed an extraordinary opportunity to educate the German audience about the spiritual, historical and political context behind the works.

Without any context, most audiences will just see a bunch of pretty painted canvases and barks, and a few odd-looking sculptures and video installations.

Design fail?

I was excited to see a Lufthansa plane painted in their new livery as I boarded my flight out of Frankfurt on Tuesday.

I like the clean, new look. It's very chic. Here is a picture I found online.
But it seems I'm in the minority.

Some marketing and design experts have been highly critical of the new design overhaul. Fans of the airline have also lamented the loss of the iconic Lufthansa yellow from the planes.
And it seems that the company is now having to go back and retweak the blue they have chosen, which looks unintentionally black under adverse weather conditions. Luckily they have only painted two of their planes in the new colours so far.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Venice and Berlin

I'm getting ready for my return flight back to Melbourne. I've had a terrific time in Europe (though it feels like I've been away for ages).

I thought I'd post some snaps from my trip.

Unsurprisingly, given the all the water, seafood is a speciality in Venice and surrounding.
Of course I had to have pizza...
...and pasta (with seafood) too.
After Venice, I had made plans to visit my friend in Berlin. The weather was generally crappy for most of my trip to Europe (though not as bad as the week before my arrival) but I did manage to get a few hours in Berlin with blue sky and sunshine.
One of my most favourite places to visit is the food hall at the up market department store KaDeWe. The food hall is stocked with all kinds of weird and wonderful produce form all around the world (including emu eggs!!).

I remember seeing bright red carabinero prawns during my last visit to the food hall two years ago. These delicacies come from the deep sea off the coast of Spain. I was excited to find out that customers can buy the seafood from the counter and a chef will then cook it up for a small fee.
Naturally, I got me some of those carabineros (I only had two because they were almost 100 euros a kilo). I also had some monkfish.
This is what a monkfish head looks like (basically, it's all teeth). Not the prettiest fish but boy was it tasty.
We wandered around the food hall afterwards and my friend invited on showing the sausage counter. Germans love their sausages.