Painting in Virtual Reality

My workplace recently got the HTC Vive virtual reality player so we could see what the fuss was about and the creatives could potentially come up with project ideas.

I started playing with some of the games installed and was just slack-jawed-wowed with the immersive experience of Google Tilt Brush. The first time I took a stroke in 3-D space, my hair stood up. It was unbelievable. It still is, really. 

Just a couple of pieces I’ve been messing around with after work. Painting in 3-D is defo not as easy as the professionals make it look on video. But the potential for real life application is just astounding. 

Gastronomy heaven at Sepia

sepia_menu

For Jeff’s birthday this year, we went to Sepia as a treat. And what a treat it was! Almost every course that evening was a veritable show of fireworks. We each went away with different favorites, which just shows the breadth of ‘signature’ dishes Chef Martin Benn and his team can whip up. My dish of the night was the sweet and light spanner crab, mixed with the almost surprising hit of browned butter which lent the meat some nuttiness and weight. Yum yum yum! And I loved the dessert wine that I picked, the Greco di Bianco from Italy. Produced in a ‘passito’ style where the grapes are dried like raisins on racks, the bronze liquid had a distinct nose of orange peels and apricots and tasted of honey and nuts. SO GOOD. I have to hunt us down a bottle or two too.

Sepia definitely sits at the top of our favorite restaurants in Sydney – and elsewhere – thus far, alongside Gastro Park and Nel. Mmmm.

Crashing the gate crash

We stopped by Singapore mid-September, enroute back to Sydney from our holiday in Croatia. My brother was getting married!😀

Unlike us, he opted for a more traditional Singaporean Chinese wedding, complete with gate crashing games. As we were on the groom’s side, we technically weren’t supposed to follow him to pick up his bride, but my aunt and cousin wanted to see the action. So we went incognito. Haha.

My dad loaned us his collection of fans – I don’t even know where or WHY he has them – and we supplemented the disguises with sunglasses and newspapers / magazines with eye hole cutouts.

Haha, somehow I don’t think our disguises helped much, but I think we had the most fun and laughs of the people in the playground that morning. And now my brother’s happily married!

A paddle out to Clifton Gardens

When I had checked the weather forecast earlier in the week, it seemed like Sunday was perfect for our long paddle. Balmy temperatures, sunny blue skies…

But you know where this is heading. It was freezing when we started to build our origami Oru kayaks in the pre-dawn, and it seemed that the winds only picked up as we paddled out of our little bay East towards the Sydney Opera House.

At least it was quiet on the water, save the occasional ferry already plying it’s first passengers from Manly. We paddled past the Opera House for the first time, and at the governor’s mansion turned back to admire the city view. We kept on going, heading towards Taronga Zoo, then past it, all the while keeping our eyes peeled towards the Middle Harbor for a wisp of spout. You never know. Whales have been regularly spotted as far inland as the Opera House!

We weren’t lucky that day though. Finally, as we rounded the bend to Clifton Gardens, we decided to turn back. Jeff’s hands were starting to turn red and swollen from the cold; my ass was getting sore from the thin padding on the seat. And we still had to battle the headwinds to get back. 

All said and done, it was a great 16km paddle. I love quiet mornings. It would have been quite perfect, had I not accidentally dropped one of my kayak’s seam channels into the water by our jetty when I was dismantling it. Dismayed, I actually dove into the frigid waters to try retrieve it. No luck.😥

Winter day paddle to Cockatoo Island and Goat Island

oru kayaks

We hadn’t taken our kayaks out on the water in a while, so I was itching to get in some paddling last Sunday, when it was nice and sunny out. The warm rays of the sun felt good on our skin. We launched at the jetty by us, and decided to paddle west towards Greenwich and Cockatoo Island.

I’ve heard a lot about Cockatoo Island, about how it’s an urban getaway island with a lot of history. It just looked very industrial to us though, not very attractive. I can’t believe that people actually paid $800 to camp overnight there on New Year’s Eve. Goodness. The setting seemed quite perfect for a dystopian film, say Divergent, or a hideout of drug cartels in some action movie.

Goat Island, which we paddled to, on the other hand, appeared greener and more idyllic. It had the added advantage of facing the Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House too.

kayaking sydney harbor bridge

All in all, it was a great day to be out on the water, and we even got to paddle up to Balmain, which I still haven’t been to visit. On the books the next sunny weekend: paddling out to Taronga Zoo.

goat island kayak

Catching the Met Encore of Roberto Devereux

Caught the Metropolitan Opera’s encore streaming of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux last weekend at the Sydney Dendy Opera Quay movie theatre. It’s the third of Donizetti’s queen opera series, beginning with Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda.

The Met’s put together a stellar cast: Elina Garanca as Sara the Duchess of Nottingham, Mariusz Kwiecien as the Duke of Nottingham, Matthew Polenzani as the Earl of Essex, and Sondra Radvanosky as Queen Elizabeth. This past season, Sondra Radvanosky sang all three queen roles, a major coup for her.

I wasn’t that big a fan of her singing as Queen Elizabeth however, though I think that was in part colored by the way she was directed to portray Queen Elizabeth – as a tottering royal near the end of her life who is consumed by jealousy over Earl of Essex’s love for the Duchess of Nottingham. In the opera, Elizabeth condemns the Earl to death primarily for that reason, and not so much for his failed rebellion. That depiction didn’t sit quite well with me, although from the applause in the audience in the cinema, people loved the performance.

Ah well. It was still rather nice to be transported back to the Metropolitan Opera house. I miss watching the opera series, there and in Chicago.

A day of sunshine, clouds and rain

It started out a bright and sunny day. But the clouds quickly rolled in. Some rain. Then the sun came back out. But by evening, the clouds were back again, and the wind had picked up.

Just like the Brexit tally.

Man, what’s happening in the world? Is everyone just getting evermore paranoid and insular again?

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