Another Museum but nothing worthwhile

August 29, 2006 at 1:13 pm | Posted in Out and About, Sydney, Travel | Leave a comment
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This week’s field trip was to the Museum of Sydney. I had high hopes for this museum located near Circular Quay – on the remains of first Governor’s residence – but it sadly didn’t live up to expectation. Although it gave some insight into what I expect from a museum. First off, it’s another venue where no water bottles are allowed to be open or carried. I seriously don’t understand this rule as everything is protected and if they’re worried about people slipping on spilt water then all the museums would have this rule. Rant over. Also you will need to pay. Conceptually the museum appears to give a (very) short history of Sydney. It was somewhat surreal to go from the history of Aborigines in the Sydney area into the glam of the 20s and 30s. Meanwhile, design wise the museum is good with interactive elements and a reasonable use of space and light. 

Now onto the content. Yes, there is a plethora of information and various formats that give insight into the city’s history. However, it lacks depth and breadth. There are allusions to many topics and terms such as the NSW Corps, the Great Depression, Bubonic Plague and the Rum Rebellion. These and others could have been expanded upon to bring forth a better understanding and appreciation on the effect (or lack thereof) on Sydney’s history and the larger Australian history. In retrospect I think was a similar failing of the National Museum. Personally I think some anecdotes about some of Sydney’s landmarks would have been intriguing.

Really, you can give this a miss if you’ve read a brief history of Australia and Sydney at another museum or in a tour guide book. It’d be a much better use of time to wander a little bit further down the street and visit the Justice Museum.

Overall: skip it.

 

More TV ‘n’ stuff

August 29, 2006 at 12:41 pm | Posted in Documentaries, Farscape, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1 | 1 Comment

Apologies for the poor formatting, for some reason it’s not letting me put in paragraph breaks…except for this one. Try and enjoy.  

Well, I guess my previous question about South Parkand JonBenet is a moot point now.
In other TV news, I’m not prone to doing reviews of individual episodes, but last week had some unexpected highlights/lowlights. And yes I’m slow reporting it. It saw both Stargate SG-1’s 200th episode ‘200’ and notice of its cancellation. 200 was incredibly good, initially I thought it was going to self-indulgent trash but very soon the in-jokes and tongue in cheek (including about cancellation) started to win me over. Though the moment where it turned to fan boy status was when they parodied Farscape. Awesome. As for its cancellation, a part of me is sad because it’s been such a stalwart – usually of high quality – but by the same token it has outlasted so many shows, ten years is a phenomenal run in TV. Just ask Farscape. Hopefully, they can either find another network or telemovie it or at the very least wrap up the story effectively. And while we’re on it, Atlantis also had a pretty good episode that week with Real World. I’ve always enjoyed episodes in sci-fi/fantasy where they think they’ve experienced is a mental condition. Probably a good break for the actor too. Though the leaps of logic the rest of the cast make are pretty big ones. In both episodes there was of course guest appearances by Richard Dean Anderson.
Recently watched National Geographic’s ‘World Cyber Games’ documentary. It was quite interesting. While I used to be quite a gamer the professionals well and truly put me to shame. I thought I was fairly up on my pop cult geekiness but this event has previously passed me by. Looks like fun.
Unlike, Crime and Investigation Channel’s documentary ‘The Real Blair Witch’about a group of teens who, depending on who you believe, made an amateur movie or kidnapped and terrorised an acquaintance all while videotaping it. Watching segments is unnerving. Which followed on from watching a biography of Jeffrey Dahmer. OK too much criminology.
Speaking of, have successfully completed my degree and received a letter the other day saying I’d finished my criminology degree and will eventually get a letter inviting me to my graduation in a few months. Exciting!
Lastly, Rove McManus was recently interviewed in the Good Weekend Magazine of the Sydney Morning Herald and one of the questions was what he thinks about sometimes, his answer being, somewhat appropriately, “where Casper the Friendly Dead Kid is buried,” and now I’m pondering that as well.

Randomness through ‘South Park’

August 22, 2006 at 1:41 pm | Posted in Humour, News, Pop-cult, Random, Sydney | 1 Comment

I know it’s unlikely but on the off chance that this guy actually killed JonBenet I wonder will South Park make a comment given their earlier episode. I’m just happy it’s not some Puerto Rican guy.

Speaking of cartoons, I’m not sure I agree with the editing of cartoons. Especially when it is a result of one complaint. Also, which poor modern child is watching Tom and Jerry? Do their parents think that cartoons of a cat and mouse trying to kill each other is better than…I don’t know…The Simpsons? Oh wait, Itchy and ScratchyBoomerang isn’t  really for kids anyway, more for the nostalgia of adults who’ve already decided whether or not to smoke. As I write this I realise how annoyed I am that one person’s complaint has triggered this and am reminded of another couple of South Park episodes. Granted I don’t even care about Tom and Jerry, but come on Scooby Doo? I just think its ridiculous.

At New Work, I’ll be one face of the company’s diversity training for its staff. For those that know me I would say that I am clearly the perfect person to highlight diversity. Kidding aside it was a fun few hours. Sadly it’s for internal use so there won’t be any pictures of me on buses.

Lastly, I have a question for anyone bored enough to answer. Is shaving cream (as it’s in a compressed can) stowable alongside the primary luggage or only in hand luggage? New/possible restrictions not withstanding. I’ve always thought and been told (and granted tech/know-how may be different now) that compressed cannisters absolutely cannot be stowed due to changes in pressure while in flight. Not wanting to buy a whole can in each city I’ve put it in my hand luggage. Which actually helps to highlight something about airports, something somewhat concerning. Whenever I leave I put my bag through the X-ray machine, no problems but whenever I return from another city their security personnel will always stop me and very politely ask to see what’s inside. I wonder what else Sydney is missing? … I should just go electric. And in the need to provide a theme for this post, someone like me causes delays at airports (sorry!) and if only there was a better way.

Sydney Jewish Museum

August 22, 2006 at 11:55 am | Posted in Out and About, Sydney, Travel | Leave a comment
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This week’s trip was to the Sydney Jewish Museum. A stirring and interesting exploration of Judaism in Australia and the Holocaust. While I rarely take photos of museums I would have liked to show a shot of the staircases that flow upwards mimicking the shape of the Star of David. Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to photograph inside. Still quite cool. Having very little knowledge of Jewish traditions I found explanations of various symbols and holidays located on the ground floor quite useful. On that note, the museum has place cards for practically everything so that, should you wish, you can get a thorough appreciation. As I’d procrastinated this week I must admit to skimming. Those with more Jewish knowledge than I won’t be bored though as the Ground floor also houses a history of Judaism in Australia, starting from the First Fleet and into Colonial and Modern times. There’s even a recreated street scene.

The next few floors explore the history, circumstances and experience of the Holocaust. The Children’s Memorial and the Shrine of Remembrance are particularly poignant. Any time I’ve ever been to a museum like this or read about Rwanda or Srebrenica I have always come back with questions on the callousness of humanity, the perseverance of individuals and groups and the bravery of some. Leading to egotistical speculation on whether or not I would help if I were in that situation. I hope that I have the inner mettle and fortitude. I hope that such a decision is never needed.

The museum also features touch screens, contemporary papers and many artefacts. Indeed one of its greatest assets are its dedicated volunteers. I admit to being shy at speaking with them about their and their family’s experiences. When I did hear a visitor speaking with them their voices were often filled with passion and emotion.

For anyone interested in Jewish history in Australia and Europe the Museum while simultaneously disheartening and inspirational is worth a visit.

Not open Saturday and there is an admission cost. Would take 1 – 3 hours.

Canberra – Photo posting 2

August 21, 2006 at 10:46 am | Posted in canberra, Out and About, Travel | Leave a comment
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Ok enough is enough, right? These are the last Canberra photos. If you want more go to Flickr.

And …. now Old Parliament House

 

The High Court

 

 A photo for Tam. Is it random or is it art?

Overall Canberra is a pleasant city that’s in contrast to the hustle and bustle of Sydney. I’d definitely go back for a weekend but not sure if I could give up the Big City to live here.

Canberra – Photo posting 1

August 21, 2006 at 10:32 am | Posted in canberra, Travel | 1 Comment
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More Photos on Flickr. Here’s just a sampler.

 

Canberra’s peace protest. Seriously, that’s it. There are no stragglers or leaders in this pack.

Classic! Australian of the Year indeed.

 Monument to King George V and The Aboriginal Tent Embassy in the background.

New Parliament House

 

Another of New Parliament

Canberra – mini pubs and clubs guide

August 21, 2006 at 10:11 am | Posted in canberra, Out and About, Travel | Leave a comment
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Instead of doing an individual Clubs and Pubs entry this week I’ll do a brief wrap of all the venues I went to. Hopefully I’ll have something else to talk about if I ever go back!

  • King O Malleys – Civic – Inside and Outdoor seating, very casual atmosphere, perfect for after work drinks. Only downside is that there is no heating outside.
  • PJ O Reillys – Civic – Another Irish pub, hardly changed since my last visit a few years ago. Good but slightly more dodgy (only slightly!) than King o Malleys. It’s a fun night, often with live bands.
  • Bbar – Kingston – A more upmarket bar, suits would be the most frequent site, after a long day at work or a chance to catch up with friends.
  • Muddle – Civic – An excellent cocktail bar in the city. Small but comfortable, dress accordingly for a cocktail bar.
  • Mooseheads – Civic – An institution in Canberra particularly with the Armed Forces. It consists of a nightclub upstairs and a pub downstairs. I was particularly interested in going as it burnt down and rebuilt. My memory of the original was kind of fuzzy but the dim interiors remain. While other establishments might have few people late at night Mooseheads will generally always be busy.
  • ICBM – Civic – Another pub/club in the city. There’s nothing special about it but it is a decent place to spend all or part of the night. The big downside are the stairs leading up to or down to the bars. This can be quite a problem depending on how much you’ve had to drink.
  • Transit Bar – Civic – I believe it’s near the backpackers and has a fairly fun atmosphere with DJ’s, pool tables and random conversations. Again nothing spectacular but a good place to while away the hours. If someone knows a link for it that’d be great!
  • Mombasa – Civic – An African nightclub and supposed restaurant although I’ve never seen anyone get a meal. Sometimes it can be quiet but it is fun, even with a small group of friends. Well worth a visit.
  • Cube – Civic – Canberra’s only gay nightclub, after presumably replacing Heaven in that role. Great music to dance to and the drinks aren’t that overpriced. Although how recent events may affect its future/ownership is something to speculate on.
  • The Academy – Civic – While I didn’t go in, I thought it worthy of note to say that The Academy was once an idie cinema in Civic but clearly fell on hard times at some point in the past. From friends in the area The Academy is meant to be good.
  • Cafe Essen – Civic – Located next to Gus’ (below) a perennial cafe in Civic. With food and drink of reasonably good quality. Like Gus’ it’s greatest value is as a meeting place and people watching spot to while away a few hours with friends or a good book.
  • Gus’ Cafe – Civic – I have a soft spot for Gus’ after spending a good chunk of time here when I lived in the city. Here friends introduced me to Sticky date pudding and Mocha’s with Baileys. Both of which I tried again – yes nostalgia! – the Pudding was OK but not nearly as good as I remembered. Granted that’s probably just a trick of the mind. That or the time it took for the food/drinks to come out. I came back a second time to have that mocha and it was OK but once again the service was slow. Gus’ is a great spot and one of the few to have meals late (or at least Canberra’s definition of late).
  • Three Mothers – Civic – Great Thai food that my Thai aficionados eating companions rated highly. Again, if you know a link let me know.
  • Madame Hu’s (?) – Kingston – I think this is the name, and another Thai restaurant. IT was pretty good but Three Mothers is better. Canberra appears to have quite a few Thai restaurants so shop around, ask a local and you’re bound to go somewhere good.

Not such a yawn – the Canberra Trip

August 20, 2006 at 12:05 pm | Posted in canberra, Travel | Leave a comment
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A week ago I ventured to the nation’s capital to visiti some friends amongst other things. It’s been 6 years since I was last in Canberra and much has changed but most appears the same and familiar. Most noticeable was the change in the city’s skyline – while not impressive – a substantial increase in construction than in 2000.

 

Lake to Civic

More of Civic

The one major attraction I wanted to see was the National Museum that opened after I left. After a 20 minute walk from Civic (longer if you take photos) you’ll arrive at the oddly designed National Museum, its architecture is in stark contrast to the more staid design of Canberra’s buildings. The museum charts both Aboriginal and European histories of Australia.

 

Across the lake to the National Museum

National Museum – Interior

Museum Entrance – Not really sure what the ‘rollercoaster’-esque thing on the side represents

Boat near the Museum – My inner Geek couldn’t resist!

The museum has a large array of exhibits most of which are interactive on some level or another thus making it more entertaining and indeed educational. I could have spent considerable time reading all of the information but due to a lack of time and patience that didn’t happen, nonetheless I gleaned quite a bit of knowledge. My only real complaint is that the layout is not linear, normally not such a problem but there is a need to do some backtracking and searching to make sure you see everything. Hoping that you’ve seen everything. Presumably those with time can manage this more easily. When in Canberra a visit to the National Museum would be recommended.

I’ll add more about Canberra in further posts.

Sunday is crime time

August 1, 2006 at 2:58 pm | Posted in Sydney, Travel | 2 Comments
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On Sunday I went with Amy, Tam and Jason to the Justice and Crime Museum, a series of interconnected colonial buildings nestled above Circular Quay and amongst the gleaming towers of the new city. In brief, this is an opportunity to learn about Sydney’s crime, justice and punishment and is a good outing but you can only do it on the weekend and have to pay.

I really enjoyed the experience, even though I’m quite new to the city, myself and my more seasoned Sydney-sider friends were all interested in photos and events occurring on familiar streets and locations. It was very much a “I know that place!” moment.

At the time we went they were showing an exhibit on historic crime scene photographs. Given space restrictions they displayed them via a projector in three different themes with a (monotone) voice-over. While I didn’t feel like sitting through half an hour’s worth it was interesting to watch for a few minutes. You can always come back before you leave.

I will make a special note of the Shrine of Remembrance for NSW police officers who died in the line of duty. Each of the names was read over the speakers with a summary of the events leading to their deaths and it was quite moving and set up I had not seen at other shrines before.

In one room devoted to forensics is a large box (I don’t recall the metal) that housed the “Pyjama Girl” a woman who’d been murdered and her body subsequently left on display at the University of Sydney’s medical school until her identity was determined. Slightly surreal. 

While I was enjoying wandering around towards the end I was getting a tad bored, luckily one of the tour guides, David, started telling us anecdotes. They were engaging and the human element helped to spark my brain back into gear again for the remainder of the museum. I was particularly surprised by the story of the school girls who had to go back to class straight after one of their classmates had been shot and killed in the school chapel.

Try out the museum, I think you’ll be suprised.  

More on the Travel tab.

Out and about – random photo

August 1, 2006 at 12:49 pm | Posted in Random, Sydney | Leave a comment

On the way home from the Justice Museum I spotted the Gowings’ sign and wondered if the neon had been intentionally set that way. For more on the story of one of Sydney’s former major shops check out this article.

Ironic signage

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