Rock rock Rockaway Beach

The 4th of July happened recently, which for me is just another public holiday that I don’t give 2 hoots about.  Something about wasting good tea.  Everyone gets the day off, though, which makes it a good excuse to hang out and do something weekendy mid-week.  I joined some friends at Rockaway Beach, which was … Continue reading

Family Feuding

We sat across from each other in groups of 4.  It was Team Euro vs Team Social Deduction, in respect to the styles of board games that we prefer i.e. sociopaths vs socialites; quiet thinkers vs loud talkers; mouth breathers vs political tricksters.  We were competing in a makeshift Family Feud at one of my … Continue reading

A furious Dracula

My friends and I have been playing a lot of Fury of Dracula lately.  It’s a board game where 4 valiant hunters chase the hidden Dracula around Europe, trying to find his trail and vanquish him before his evil plots thicken.  For me, the major draw is that I loved the book and movie of … Continue reading

The hygge Haagen

I recently made it to a Brooklyn Haagen-Dazs for their free cone day … because the only thing better than ice cream is free ice cream.  It surprised me that the line wasn’t round the block and 3 hours long, like it would have been in Manhattan.  People in New York suffer from severe trend-chasing … Continue reading

Once upon a midnight dreary

I recently stumbled upon an Edgar Allen Poe festival in NYC and immediately seized myself tickets for a couple of different performances.  Poe is a master.  I only really discovered Poe 2 years ago, and have rapidly devoured his best material since then.  I even managed to travel to his houses and museums in Baltimore, … Continue reading

The White Castle quest

I recently traveled by NYC’s healthiest mode of transport (Citi Bike) to have lunch at one of the country’s unhealthiest burger joints – the medievally monikered White Castle.  Why?  To try their Impossible Sliders.  It’s a vegetarian burger made to feel, taste and even bleed like meat.  I also wanted to see what Harold & … Continue reading

Corsendonkulous Belgian Double Magnum

I recently had the occasion to drink a huge ass bottle of beer.  It all started in June 2017 when I stumbled upon a well-stocked beer store in Connecticut which featured a 3 Litre bottle of Corsendonk Christmas Ale from Belgium.  Even the guy at the beer shop was amused.  “Why do you want this?” … Continue reading

Three Men and a Baby

My mates and I struck a classic movie pose. See the trailer and real movie poster below. Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohBNZZKmtnw

Astrology on Tap

Like many big cities, NYC has a veritable smorgasburg of free events – everything from movies to lectures and stargazing.  A few weeks ago I chanced upon a night of science talks run by Astronomy On Tap.  As you might have guessed from the name, the venue was a nearby pub (The Way Station).  The … Continue reading

Democracy in a sea of pandemic

Three of my friends and I recently embarked on a year-long campaign to support the world’s last bastions of civilisation and attempt to find a cure once-and-for-all for the virus that had plagued us all.  In truth, we were actually playing a board game called Pandemic Legacy Season 2.  This particular game is a “legacy” … Continue reading

Home to Penelope

I was traveling at dusk, so the sky started at a fading blue and fell to darkness during my nautical journey.  We passed by the Statue of Liberty and it looked like a beacon of divinity on this crystal clear night.  A thousand lights from Manhattan reflected off the ripples in front of me as … Continue reading

Forgettable karaoke

A few weeks ago, my friend was leaving for an extended trip to Thailand, so he had a karaoke night to celebrate the joy of his departure.  It’d been a few years since my last karaoke, back in my London days, so I felt compelled to give New York a shot.  This place was apparently … Continue reading

Chunk with Chunk

Would you like your Chunk with a side of Chunk?  Lloyd showed me this street graffiti near Camden Town, London, so I did what felt natural. Yes, kids, this is a Goonies reference – a 1985 movie that’s sort of like Stranger Things without the magic. Goonies trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJ2j4oWdQtU A fabulous horror remix of … Continue reading

My artisanal pizzas

These are the pizzas I made for my family during the Xmas holidays.  Mine are the artisanal looking ones while the perfectly round ones used gluten-free bases from a shop. I made the dough from scratch and I permitted no input on the menu (coz who has the time or patience to listen to family … Continue reading

Philly haute cuisine

There’s a somewhat delicate, somewhat refined, and somewhat secretive meal you can only find in Philly that even most of the locals don’t know about.  Everyone knows about Lorenzo & Sons pizza – home to the 28″ pizza (yes, that’s 71 cms in diameter).  Everyone knows about Jim’s Steaks – home to their famous cheesesteaks.  … Continue reading

5 out of 5 death’s heads ain’t bad

I’d heard of planetariums, sanitariums and solariums before but never a serpentarium.  When I spotted one at Cape Fear in North Carolina (yes, that Cape fear), I simply had to check it out. It felt like an indoor museum full of snakes and a few other reptiles in their own custom-built cages.  Watching snakes may … Continue reading

Fearing the Reaper

It took us a few hours in a rental car to travel to the backwaters of Scranton, Pennsylvania.  We parked in a dark and dusty (yet oddly heaving) car park.  As we walked along the path, an eery mist floated over the pond on our right, accompanied by the fitting song, ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’.  … Continue reading

Pizza girls have needs

In Philly recently, I made my way to a brewery one evening – my modus operandi.  There I was drinking my beer, doing some work, when the night took an unexpected turn.  A local group (Broad Street Burlesque) was scheduled to perform and I just happened to be in the right place at the right … Continue reading

More Miyazaki Than Miyazaki

There was recently a showing of Miyazaki-inspired art in a small, NYC gallery, so I dutifully resurrected myself from slumber and took a gander.  The re-imaginings were really well done and plenty of them were good enough to be mistaken for the real McCoy.  My favourite was titled Bad Girls Club, featuring Princess Mononoke, and … Continue reading

Cell block tango

I was blindfolded, handcuffed to a couple of my friends, and led me into a prison cell, with a few accomplices similarly bound in the cell next door.  This wasn’t a remake of 50 Shades on Broadway or the next Hostel movie; this was an escape room.  Our mission was to work together to escape … Continue reading

Swifty Swine Racing

I went to the Maryland State Fair, in Towson, Maryland, and the most entertaining spectacle by far was the Swifty Swine Racing.  This involved 4 little piggies trotting around the track to win their favourite treat – an Oreo cookie.  The stars of the show all had cute names like Kim Kardashiham, Justin Bieboar, Christina … Continue reading

Fire in the hole

A few weeks ago, I engaged in that great American tradition for privileged, city folk – a balcony fire pit.  A few of us gathered at a friend’s balconied house for this occasion and it turned out to be much more lavish than I’d anticipated.  I’ve roasted marshmallows on a homemade bonfire before, but I’d … Continue reading

Kids on their soapbox

I recently watched the South Slope Soap Box Derby, where kids build and ride gravity-assisted carts down a local street while the masses cheer them on towards their dreams of fortune and fame.  It’s a heartwarming image to think of a father and son hammering pieces of recycled furniture together into a makeshift vehicle that … Continue reading

Thai noodle hieroglyph

My Thai noodle soup was desperate to communicate with me through this stickman hieroglyph.

Total Partiality

Unless you live under a rock, or perhaps just any country that isn’t bombarded by US-centric pandemonia, you’d know that 21st August was the Great American Eclipse.  The hype was epic.  Thousands booked expensive flights to coincide with the path of totality, millions planned road trips to converge on the major towns in the same … Continue reading

Brooklyn’s floribundas

Now that I’m a Brooklynite, I’m starting to check out what this new borough has to offer, apart from moustache wax and wide-brimmed hats. I took my first ever jaunt to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens near Prospect Park.  Flowers aren’t normally my thing but it was pretty darn pleasant.  The place was divided up into … Continue reading

Strike a Karate Kid pose

I finally tricked some buddies into playing my favourite party game, You Robot.  The premise is simple – the scientist tries to make the robot get their body into a certain position, using only a few cards that show body parts and arrows on them, and the audible word “stop”.  Usually you play it as … Continue reading

Give me apizza pie

I’ve been working in Connecticut recently in the “city” of New Britain.  You heard that correctly, my old comrades from the UK, there’s a New Britain.  You’re old.  The US replaced you with a new one.  That’s what they do.  It’s a rather small and unnoteworthy place compared to the old Britain, but it’s a … Continue reading

Crazy Shake Craze

Everything has to be a craze these days, particularly in NYC.  The latest one that I heard about was Black Tap NYC’s shakes.  I’d been to Black Tap a few years ago, when it was an ordinary, quiet joint with decent burgers and craft beers.  But that was before the crazy shakes. They’re all the … Continue reading

A hoagie by any other name

I recently worked near Philadelphia, in a place called Chuck-Norristown.  The guys I worked with were locally raised and had that excellently rough attitude and accent that you expect of Philly.  They showed me around and made me try some of their local delicacies like: – TastyKakes – Packaged, little angel cakes that are surprisingly … Continue reading

Vanderbilt’s big digs

I was working in North Carolina recently and went to take a gander at Biltmore Estate.  This was the forested grounds and private residence of Mr. Moneybags himself, George Washington Vanderbilt II. Built in 1895, Biltmore is still officially the largest private residence in the USA today.  It was designed as a French Chateaux and … Continue reading

The lost coffee bus

In Asheville, North Carolina, I stumbled onto this old London double decker that had been trapped, surrounded by angry pot plants and made to do terrible things.  Yes, they were using it to serve coffee.  Downstairs is for ordering and upstairs is where you sit and sip.  I don’t even like coffee but I had … Continue reading

Rise of the snowy surfer

I was back in Colorado for a 3rd visit in Jan/Feb, which is peak snow season in a very popular ski resorts region.  Despite owning zero of the necessary gear, I managed to rent everything and enjoy 2 separate weekends in Winter Park and Steamboat. It was glorious.  I rediscovered my childhood snowboarding skills quickly … Continue reading

Barefoot Bowls

You probably thought lawn bowls was for boring, old people in stiff, white clothes.  Nope; not anymore.  Australia has lately gone mad for ‘barefoot bowls’ so I had a go over Xmas. It’s just like a backyard party, where you get to hold a beer in your left hand and a lawn bowl in your … Continue reading

The source of liquid courage

I went to the Budaberg distillery which is in … well … Bundaberg.  Bundy is Australia’s truly distinctive rum.  It’s iconic advertising hook is a large, friendly polar bear (who knows why, but it’s pretty catchy).  If we’re being honest, I don’t think anyone really loves Bundy Rum, but it’s a staple. I don’t like … Continue reading

Helmet diving with Kang & Kodos

Over the Christmas break, I went on a little road trip through Northern Queensland with my sister and niece.  We had a blast stopping for a beer in each new town, sleeping in crappy motels, and peeing on the side of the road. At Port Douglas, we went helmet diving and snorkelling, which was pretty … Continue reading

Round and round the bar we go

On my last night in New Orleans, recently, I heard about the Carousel Bar, which of course I had to try.  There were no zebras or pink elephants on this carousel, just a round bar with a wooden bartop and stools which revolved slowly around the 2 barmen in the center.  I waltzed over, took … Continue reading

Voting in America

Holy crap, the politics here confuses me.  We all hear about the Democrats and Republicans, who seem to be locked in a perpetual Puerto Rican knife fight on a seesaw.  The words democracy and republic are good words with a lot of similarities but somehow they’ve been chosen as opposing labels in this strange land.  … Continue reading

Attack of the killer pumpkins

When I recently heard that there was a pumpkin tossing festival in Denver, I couldn’t resist.  They call it Punkin Chunkin.  Now throwing gourds in the air might sound like a bit of frivolous fun, but it’s a seriously competitive and highly technical competition involving heavy equipment and scientific precision.  There’s regional, national and international … Continue reading

How do you say beer in Japanese?

A few weeks ago, I went to a random brewery after work on a Friday, as I’m wont.  That’s when I bumped into 2 random Japanese guys who were working in Ohio and had come to NYC just for a beer weekend.  Seriously, they came to NYC not to see Lady Liberty and Central Park, … Continue reading

Harald the Dragon

Norway wants to pillage us all again, it seems.  They recently built an authentic-sized viking ship and sailed it over here via Greenland, where they presumably stopped to pick up weapons and raiding supplies.  Their raping and pillaging expedition of the Americas nearly came to an abrupt end when Canada’s beuracratic rules almost halted them … Continue reading

Sprinting for suds

The gun sounded and we were off running.  I’d already placed myself at the very front to avoid the inevitable mob of penguins, but staying there once the race started proved a bit beyond me.  As I quickly ran out of breath and slowed my pace, I started counting the people ahead of me: 19, … Continue reading

Jersey Murals

I was working in Jersey City lately, in the Grove St area and I spotted numerous, intricate, pretty murals everywhere.  I’m not sure why so many people make the effort to create these large murals on different buildings but it really helped spruce up the ‘hood. This was only the 2nd time in 4 years … Continue reading

Fat Val Kilmer goes tubing

I was invited upstate with some friends to try my hand at white water tubing.  It sounded sort of like white water rafting but without the raft, paddles or safety precautions.  More like jumping into a rubber doughnut and letting the river whisk you down the rapids. The TripAdvisor reviews were splendidly polarised.  Half the … Continue reading

Pizza in the far east

I finally got around to visiting Roberta’s, one of New York’s most hip pizza joints.  They’ve won michelin stars and plenty of awards but the thing that had kept me away until now was their location in the far east.  Not Asia; just Bushwick, but as a Manhattanite I can rarely be arsed to journey … Continue reading

The creation of Adam’s beer

When you walk into a random brewery in Denver and see 2 guys just posing like this … Brilliant.

The Bowie package at Red Rocks

Just outside of Denver is a picturesque set of rock formations making large, slanted walls like a stegosaurus’ plates or a waddle of penguins leaning into a brisque wind.  It’s a stunning view from the city, looks even better up close, appears heavenly at dusk, and is mesmerising when accompanied by a giant projection of … Continue reading

Top Dogs of Mt Sanitas

I was working in Colorado recently, which is known for mountains, health, weed, and craft beer.  I spent a weekend in Boulder and got up at 6am to hike Mt Sanitas.  It was quite steep and full of stony steps, and even though I powered past an elderly woman near the start, she caught me … Continue reading

Cards Against The Strand

Bookshops and libraries are for reverant, studious people right?  You’d think so but you’d be wrong.  It’s for horrible people. I found this out when The Strand (famous NYC bookstore) recently hosted a Cards Against Humanity event, sponsored by Coney Island Brewery.  This event was held in their Rare Books room, which is probably usually … Continue reading

Do the Harlem Shake

I finally paid a visit to a funky shake & burger place in Harlem called Harlem Shake.  It’s wonderfully retro and pays homage to black heritage with photos of local folk everywhere. Harlem Shake is also the name of a 2013 dance craze that you have to see to understand. Links below. My favourite Harlem … Continue reading

Old Razzle Dazzle, Ole

My sister and I recently saw Chicago on Broadway.  She was definitely the right person to see it with because we were both already in love with the movie version so we knew all of the words by-heart.  Roxy Hart was clearly a little older than the others but she was impressively vibrant and lithe, … Continue reading

Sofar Sounds

My sister is in NYC right now and we somehow stumbled onto Sofar Sounds.  It’s an event where they list intimate band nights at secret locations around the city.  There’s a strict head-count to keep things small, and you mostly can only get in by online lottery.  Best of all, it’s BYO so everyone brings … Continue reading

Stana the cowboy

My dreams came true recently when I nabbed a ticket to see the Flight of the Conchords at a small show in New York.  They’re a musical duo from New Zealand who perform hilarious songs of various styles with a comedic tone that is distinctly antipodean.  They also created a TV show a few years … Continue reading

The Little Red Lighthouse That Could

A few weeks ago, the Little Red Lighthouse had an open day.  Open Days are a New York thing where they open private buildings to the public to take a squiz inside. The lighthouse itself wasn’t much more than a steel shell with a winding staircase, but it was interesting to hear the history and … Continue reading

Tossing the dough babies

My close acquaintances know not to expect any culinary skills from me other than the ability to open the microwave or unscrew a bottle top.  I’ve probably never cooked a meal in my life except for pizza, which for some strange reason I learned how to make from scratch, by watching Jamie Oliver videos on … Continue reading

Fight at a Missy Higgins concert

Missy Higgins is a folk singer from Australia whose earthy, simple and deep music I enjoy.  She recently came to NYC to play at Rough Trade NYC, which is some kind of huge, hip record store from London with a nice stage out the back that is perfect for an intimate concert. Predictably, half the … Continue reading

Heavy auntie gaming

What are the odds that you meet up with your retired, long-lost auntie and she plays Agricola, one of the most revered, heavy, modern strategy games? Over the course of a few nights, we also played Tzolk’in, Endeavor, Notre Dame, Egezia, and Innovation. Impressive, non?

Office Space prank

I was working with a really friendly team in Baltimore and one of them had to take a few weeks off for hip surgery.  This is how they welcomed him home… His cubicle was filled with 900 balloons, blown up by an army of jokers.  They had to surround the cubicle in plastic sheets to … Continue reading

Annabel Lee

Continuing my Edgar Allan Poe craving of late, I made a journey to the Annabel Lee Tavern in Baltimore.  The tavern itself isn’t historic at all, but the owner is a huge Poe fan.  The decorations were ominously perfect for a spooky pint and a misgiving meatloaf. Poe’s Annabel Lee – http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/annabel-lee/ A neat short … Continue reading

The Twin Towers started here

Colonial Williamsburg (the one in Virginia, not the one with all the moustache wax, skinny jeans and bow ties) copped some flack recently when they streamed historic scenes of America in their Superbowl ad and included footage of the Twin Towers falling down.  People got offended because … well … hmmm … that’s what people like … Continue reading

A wise old owl

While in Baltimore, I visited a fantastic historical bar that used to be a speakeasy, named the Owl Bar.  The entrance was tucked away to the side of the Belvedere Hotel’s foyer, looking like a small coat room with velvet curtains.  Those concealing curtains led into a huge, beautiful room with ornate brickwork, stained glass … Continue reading

Master of Macabre

I’m no literary buff but when I realised that I was near the Edgar Allan Poe house in Richmond, Virginia, I figured I should have a sticky.  I read ‘The Raven’ to myself first to get into the mood of course, because it was the only one of his works that I actually knew (and … Continue reading

Dry as a dead dingo’s donger

Having been raised in tropical heat with a sea breeze, I never understood the concept of dry heat … until just recently.  Phoenix taught me, particularly when I went for my regular, weekend, outdoor run and I barely sweated.  The surrounding desert seems to suck the life out of everything.  I usually associate dry lips … Continue reading

Strangeways

My companion and I visited Richmond, the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia – who knew?! Through some twist of legendary fortitude and fate, we managed to visit 5 breweries in one weekend. The most interesting was, by far, Strangeways Brewing, who brewed a wide body of ales and then proceeded to offer a dizzying … Continue reading

Smuggling budgies in The Big City

My sister and I were standing in a subway car when a girl suddenly took her pants off and stood there in her knickers.  She got off at the next stop and then a man and his small son began doing the same thing before the following stop.  Two stops later, my sister and I … Continue reading

Cthulhu pizza

On New Year’s Eve, I visited old friends in a really old cottage in Biddenden, UK.  We walked the English countryside, played German board games, wore Star Wars onesies, drank Belgian beer, and generally mucked about aplenty.  We also took turns cooking, which gave me the chance to summon the meal that I’d practised once … Continue reading

Small Imperial Shuttle

While I was in Europe with my companion, we headed over to the UK to meet a few of my old friends for some jolly, dapper, English cottage board gaming in Biddenden.  Driving a French car on British roads proved surprisingly easy until the sun set and the country lanes became progressively thinner, with local … Continue reading

Shake It, Shake It Baby

I went to Amsterdam near Christmas and I did my best to try everything, as I’m wont to do – Gouda cheese, stroopwafels, brown cafes, regional beer, Gezellig pubs and most of all the red light district.  I loved Amsterdam’s cheese shops because of their multiple, well-stocked tasting stations throughout their stores where you could … Continue reading

99 Red Balloons

Just before Christmas, I managed to convince 2 friends to go with me to a pop-up, interactive art exhibit without them knowing anything about it.  We had to wake up early and wait in the cold for an hour but all of our doubts subsided as soon as we walked in and saw a room … Continue reading

The French Gentleman

I visited my friend’s family for Christmas again last year, which is in Amiens, northern France.  Prior to one of our many large, mandatory, well-provisioned, family dinners, we were tasked with driving into town to pickup Grandma’s sort-of boyfriend (it’s complicated).  Marcel, the charming chap, invited us to come a little early to have a … Continue reading

Paint and Jrink

My companion and I had never heard of painting and drinking classes, but when we saw one in New Orleans it just made so much sense to put the two together.  It was pretty easy, too.  All we had to do was sit on a chair with 7 other chilled out amateurs and follow the … Continue reading

Bourbon Street shuffle

My friend and I visited New Orleans recently with no expectations and no real plans other than to wander around and try whatever we found.  I tried a peanut butter and bacon burger.  She tried a deep fried Oreo and a chocolate coated Oreo.  What else do you need in life? Our best unexpected moment … Continue reading

Chasing the 46ers

Recently, we had a mid-week holiday and I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to try a visit the Adirondacks.  It’s a beautiful, mountainous area in northern New York State, popular for skiing and hiking.  If you hike all 46 of the “high peaks”, you get to join the 46ers club.  My one problem was that … Continue reading

Slots-A-Fun in Sin City

The Las Vegas strip sure is glitzy, but my companion and I were struck by how flat and empty most of the city looks.  It really does feel like a fake town built right in the middle of the desert.  You can see desert landscapes around every corner and there’s even large blocks of dusty … Continue reading

Scooby Doo burger

I finally had a chance to visit Las Vegas and the first thing on my list was a visit to the infamous Heart Attack Grill.  You may have heard of their Quadruple Bypass Burger, which won the Guinness World Record for the most calorific burger in 2012, weighing in at 1.4 kgs (3 lbs) and … Continue reading

Anything But Standard

Some weeks ago, I made the kind of journey that conjures fear and loathing in every real New Yorker.  No, it wasn’t New Jersey, but it was just as bad – Staten Island.  I didn’t just dip my toe off the ferry either, I went all the way and touched it with both feet.  My … Continue reading

Take my statisticians out to the ball game

I made a pilgrimage to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY recently and it was possibly the most informative, well-presented, decorated and organised museum I’ve yet seen.  Every display was flush with memorabilia, photos, information and stats – many, many, many stats.  The stats were compiled into interesting lists or graphs in a … Continue reading

La House of Ron

When it comes to spirits, I enjoy a rum and coke as much as the next man. Rum is my preferred spirit but I’m far from a connoisseur and I don’t really even like it straight. I’m the kind of guy that probably doesn’t belong in Antigua’s famed House of Rum, but destiny had plans … Continue reading

The Shire has come to Guatemala

About an hour’s drive away from Guatemala’s old capital, Antigua, there is a modest, tranquil vegan bar on the top of a mountain. The views of neighbouring volcanoes are stunning, the drinks sound like Middle Earth, and the front door is round, in the style of little folk. This is Hobbitenango – the perfect place … Continue reading

If the lava don’t getcha the water will

After my folks visited NYC, we all went to Guatemala for a week to chillax by Lago de Atitlan.  You can’t get much more relaxing than a nature hotel on a central American lake that is surrounded by volcanoes. Most of the towns around the lake seemed to have no other way in or out … Continue reading

The little French lady

My folks came to NYC so we did the most touristy thing we could think of and visited the Statue of Liberty.  She seems small when gazing from a boat, but up-close she’s a monster with surprisingly manly toes and facial features.  I loved her flowing robes, which looked so natural that it seemed more … Continue reading

Tassels with a D20 twist

While at the aforementioned DexCon, I signed up to watch a burlesque show. Not just any burlesque show, mind you, this was D20 Burlesque (hint: D20 is a nickname for a 20-sided die, commonly used in super geeky gaming activities). Their shtick is that all of their acts are geek-themed i.e. elves, vampires, robots and … Continue reading

The importance of cookie counting

23 strangers and I entered a wide, dark room and I noticed that 3 tables had been set as though for a dinner for 30 guests. Each of the 30 spots had a circular glow-stick resting on the table and a paper menu standing up within in. The glow sticks were our only light source, … Continue reading

It’s not weird, it’s New York

I was recently walking through the East Village when I saw 3 young, Asian girls posing weirdly in the middle of the street.  Except it’s not weird, it’s New York.  People do whatever they feel like here and, after a while, we all get used to it.  These girls reminded me of an OK Go … Continue reading

Fight like a German

Some friends invited me to try a German Longsword introductory class in the city for $10.  How could I say no?  It was really interesting but thoroughly awkward trying to follow the prescribed forms and positions that we were taught.  The sword was lighter than I’d imagined but that didn’t make it any less weird … Continue reading

Jess and Mikey sitting in a tree

My board gaming buddies, Jess and Mike, got married a few weeks ago. They both love board gaming heaps so this influenced many aspects of the day, without making it look silly. Our seating nametags were little toys with our nicknames attached, the party favours were custom-made dice, and each table’s flower arrangement was in … Continue reading

Ommegosh

A few weeks ago, I took advantage of Albany’s central location and planned a weekend trip around the wider New York state, instead of heading back to NYC for the weekend like normal.  I drove around the famous finger lakes but it was still the end of the crazy long winter, so it wasn’t really … Continue reading

The sprinkler incident

It all began so innocently.  I did some washing in my hotel and hung my clothes all around the room on armrests, lampshades and vertical surfaces.  When I got to my last pair of underpants, I had exhausted every available surface, so I had the clever idea of putting them on a hanger and hooking … Continue reading

Knocking on Harlem’s door

Some friends of friends came to visit NYC a few Sundays ago and they had an urge to see some Harlem Gospel.  Harlem is the neighbourhood in north Manhattan that’s famous for black cultural expressions like jazz and Gospel.  We picked a random Baptist church with a reasonable starting time and cautiously walked up their … Continue reading

The art of the beer dinner

Last month, I attended an artisanal beer night at my favorite pub in the downtown Albany area, City Beer Hall. This pub has an ever-changing selection of interesting beers from around the country so I was keen to see what they would produce for a night like this. They’d arranged the tables to make a … Continue reading

Dear Snow

Dear Snow, I used to enjoy your company so much. You never visited where I grew up so I had to travel for days just to see you. We’d play together with my brothers and I’d jump on top of you and throw you about. As we grew up, we learned to snowboard together and … Continue reading

Jigsaw of Thrones

This is how I spent many, many hours with my family, back home.  We finished in the wee hours of my final morning there and it was totally worth it.  Yes, there are 3 layers – 2 layers of jigsaw and 1 layer of castles.  So good.

To catch an emu

I took my twin’s kids to the local wildlife park, Currumbin Sanctuary, and we had a blast seeing all the natives.  We cuddled a koala and watched them sleepily eat eucalyptus for breakfast.  We fed plates of milky stuff to screeching, messy lorikeets.  We patted lounging kangaroos who were thoroughly uninterested in our affections or … Continue reading

Sunrise at the summit

I spent Xmas back home in Gold Coast, Australia, which was a nice time of catching up with my family and my home town.  I decided to attempt an old challenge and try my luck at Mt Warning, which is a 3100 ft high mountain that’s quite near our mainland’s most easterly point, Byron Bay.  … Continue reading

Golden Gai time

Some of my favourite moments in Tokyo were when I found myself sitting in small bar-restaurants soaking up the local beer, food and culture.  And just to confirm the stereotype, yes these places are full of men in business suits.  After sampling a few in the downtown area, I learned of a fabled little shanty-town … Continue reading

That kabuki moment

I was in Tokyo around Christmas time and I managed to make my way to the famous kabuki-za theatre in Tokyo, despite everyone’s best efforts to get me lost.  (Seriously, don’t trust directions from a Japanese local.)  The entrance was grand and illuminated but I entered through the plain side door where tourists, grannies and … Continue reading

A Turkish delight

I’ve always liked Turkey’s most popular foods – baklava, Turkish delight and kebabs – so it was natural that I would seek them out when I visited old Constantinople. While hunting down these tasty morsels, I saw all the most famous sites – the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofiya, the Grand Bazaar and the Galata Tower … Continue reading

Dead Diggers and long-haired Achaeans

My flight home for Xmas took me over Turkey so I opted to stop in and take a tour of Gallipoli and Troy.  Gallipoli is important to Aussies because the Turks buried a lot of our lads there in WWI.  Troy is important to me because Homer wrote a cool story about burying some Trojans … Continue reading

Albany gets Smacked Down

WWE Smack Down came to Albany so I was compelled to check it out, having previously loved wrestling as a kid, back when Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant were bitter foes.  The last time I saw it was when the NWO was a thing and The Rock was popular, but I’ve completely missed out … Continue reading

Icing the puck

Last month, I got picked up by a random guy in a pub who took me to a local ice hockey game in Albany. The games back in NYC cost a ludicrous $120+ so for a mere $10 I couldn’t say no. It was a minor league game but probably half of the players will … Continue reading