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Brokenwood Wine Dinner

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On Thursday night, Neil and I went along to the annual Brokenwood Wine dinner.

This year it was at the Monster Kitchen and Bar in Hotel Hotel in New Acton.

Brokenwood Wine Dinner welcome drinks

Brokenwood Wine Dinner

Brokenwood Wine Dinner menu

This was the entree of Mooloolaba Bug Tails.  Quite a few elements, although not a lot of actual bug tails.  Good textures and flavours, quite nice.

Brokenwood Wine Dinner bug tails

Mains was liquorice cured duck breast and boudin noir.  I don't like liquorice but I was pleasantly surprised to not really taste it.  Boudin noir is essentially a black pudding.  I found the duck went very nicely with the pinot noir, and the blood sausage went better with the shiraz.  The duck was lovely and the crunchiness of the nuts gave this dish a great texture.

Brokenwood Wine Dinner duck

Dessert was a mixed plate of "soft chocolate, mandarin, almond, rosemary".  The soft chocolate was a little bar of chocolate pudding.  The mandarin was actual pieces of mandarin.  There were biscuity bits and other crunchy stuff to give it great texture.  The rosemary seemed to be in the ice cream.  Overall I think this was probably my favourite dish.  It was paired with a sweet "Sticky Wicket" semillon, which a lot of other people didn't finish.

Brokenwood Wine Dinner dessert

So overall a lovely meal, but I think there could have been a bit more food.  I didn't end up full, and I'm not even a big eater.  I can imagine hungry guys would still be hungry afterwards.  And because it was only three courses it meant there were two white wines to go with entree and two reds to go with mains.  I would have preferred more but smaller courses so you only had to worry about one wine per course.

But, the food was nice and we had enough wine to keep us pleasantly happy without getting too silly :)

Grizzly Adams

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The other day I was doing a FunTrivia quiz that reminded me of Grizzly Adams - a late 70s tv show about a guy who went bush and teamed up with a bear cub.  I remember watching it as a little kid although the only thing I remember about it in any detail was the opening credits and him standing on a spectacular rocky ridge (right at the end of the video).

In 2002 there was a partial solar eclipse in Sydney (it was a total eclipse in South Australia, and guy from work made the trek out to see it there).  I only had my Olympus point and shoot digital camera at the time, and no filters.  So I wasn't expecting to get any decent photos of it.  But as it happened there were bushfires around Sydney that day, and smoke from one of them obscured the sun enough to let me see and get photos.  

2002 Solar Eclipse in Sydney

I did consider trekking to the US to see the total eclipse in a couple of weeks.. but it wasn't exactly practical heh.

The theme for Kit's 30th was 80s characters.  Game/tv/movies/whatever.  I couldn't think of what to go as for the longest time, but then while reading an entry on Kevin Apgar's blog I had an epiphany - Classic 80s Space Guy!!  He's been my avatar for years, so I just *had* to do it!!

I did a bit of hunting around the internet for ideas, and in the end decided to mostly copy this one.  The major difference being I didn't start with a balloon.  I really should have to get a nice smooth dome, but I was worried I wouldn't be able to get it big enough without it bursting in my face while inflating.  So I made a cardboard frame instead.  This worked ok, except the weight of the wet paper and glue weighed it down, so I had to sit it on a bowl on top of some containers, but that raised the top of the dome too high, so it's really not quite the right shape.  And it's pretty wonky.  But hey, it had the desired effect, and Kit loved it.

At this point I was really just getting the size and shape right.  I had to make sure it would fit around my head!  I just started with paper, then added cardboard.

Helmet frame

Adding a bit of strength to the frame.  Stapling was very effective and much tougher than gluing or using sticky tape.

Helmet frame

Testing to make sure it would sit right and the face opening was about the right size

Helmet testing

This is the helmet after the first layer of papier mache.  For each layer I was using about 1/3-1/2 a cup of flour, about the same amount of water (possibly a little bit extra water), and maybe half to a full teaspoon of salt to help prevent mould.  You can see the weight of the wet newspaper sagging into the holes.

Paper mache helmet

This is after about five coats done over several days.

Helmet with multiple coats

Once fully dry, I covered it in duct tape (got a nice blue roll from Officeworks for $8.68).  You can see the bubble wrap I put in around the top of the helmet to let it sit in the right position on my head (and it made it quite stable and comfortable as well).

Finished helmet

The finished helmet

Finished helmet

For the tanks I got a couple of softdrink bottles and wrapped some cardboard around them to make them actually cylindrical, with some newspaper shoved in the gap between the cardboard and the bottles at the top.  I added some extra cardboard around the spouts of the bottles to give them the "top" or joiny bit of the tanks.  Then covered the whole lot in duct tape. I wasn't sure how to attach them to the outfit.  In the end I just stuck on some string to go over my head.  But it was very heavy, so added another loop of string to hook onto my belt to hold it in position and not strangle me.  A "backpack" setup might have worked better but I was worried they'd sit too low on my back.

Helmet and tanks

For the logo I found a good quality png online, printed it out and glued it to some cardboard for strength.  I used sticky tape to attach it, but sadly this wasn't really strong enough and at point the thing fell off and got trampled on.  So if I want to wear the costume again I'll have to print out another one.

Space Lego Logo

For my clothes I simply wore my jeans and my royal blue jumper.  I found some gloves in Dollar Pop for $3.50 which worked well, but made it impossible to use my phone!

Here's me in the finished outfit!

Classic 80s Space Guy

Classic 80s Space Guy

Classic 80s Space Guy

Kit's 30th

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Saturday I spent most of the morning getting ready and cooking for Kit's 30th birthday party.  It was family-friendly for the afternoon, including pony rides!!  In the evening after dinner we got picked up by the party bus for a pub crawl, stopping at The Ducks Nuts, The Durham, and PJ O'Reilly's in Tuggeranong.  I had a pretty good time while some of the others got suitably silly hehe.  The 80s music collection on the bus was pretty pitiful though, I struggled to find good stuff to play.  

Pinky Pie pinata. There was meant to be an adults one as well but Kit ran out of time to make it.
Pinky Pie pinata

Kit gave me the ingredients to make up this ambrosia salad.  But there was so much food it never even got brought out.
Ambrosia salad

Stu went as a Rubicks Cube
Stu went as a cube

And I went as Classic 80s Space Guy!!!
Classic 80s Space Guy

Classic 80s Space Guy

Ponies!!

Kit's Pony Party

Kit and the donkey

Me on a pony

The party bus

Party bus

Inside the party bus

Sunday was just housework, jigsaw etc, and I helped clean up a little bit.  Kit had *heaps* of leftover food which various people including us are helping her with heh.

So the dodecahedron and the icosahedron are dual solids.   The icosahedron has 20 faces and 12 vertices, while the dodecahedron has 12 faces and 20 vertices.  It means that if you truncate either one of them to the same point, you send up with the same shape - the icosidodecahedron.

I made the paper solid from a net from korthalsaltes.com..

Paper icosidodecahedron

And I made the paper geodesic version from Vince Matsko..  (If using his nets, you will need three pages of the pentagons, and one page of the triangles.  The tabs for the five triangles making up each pentagon will go in the middle.  The triangle is equilateral so doesn't matter where you put the tab).

Paper geodesic icosidodecahedron

Here's the two of them together..

Icosidodecahedrons

Four frequency paper geodesic icosahedron

Over the past few weeks I've been making the paper geodesic icosahedron pictured above.

As with all my other balls in the past few months, I got the nets from Vince Matsko's website.  The problem with this model is his instructions aren't very useful if you don't have Magnus Wenninger's Spherical Models book:  

Not so challenging as its 8-frequency companion, this model requires just 320 individual spherical triangles of 5 distinct types. Bands are labelled numerically as in Figure 48 (p. 95) of Wenninger's Spherical Models. Although not individually labelled, the bands adhere to the following scheme: in Table 4, the arc in the third column of the list of bands is always next to the tab. You can easily check this by noting that in a circle, larger angles subtend larger chords, so you can measure chords to find out which angle is which.

The finished model will be approximately 14 inches (36 cm) in diameter.

Vince's net pdf document contains bands for the five different triangles.  But without Wenninger's book, you've got no way to know which band is which.  So here's one I prepared earlier:

Four frequency icosahedron instructions from Wenninger

You can see from the diagram there are five different shaped triangles, numbered 1 to 5.  This matches the pdf document on Vince Matsko's site.  Also take note of the lettering - letters a to d indicate the length of each side (remember these aren't equilateral triangles!  see Wenninger's book for more details on the mathematics of it).

The next line of instructions:

Although not individually labelled, the bands adhere to the following scheme: in Table 4, the arc in the third column of the list of bands is always next to the tab.


Again, without the book you've got no hope.  And even if you do have the book, it can take a while to figure out what he actually means.  Eventually I figured it out.  Here's the table he's talking about:

Four frequency icosahedron instructions from Wenninger

Highlighted on the right is the "third column" he's talking about.  If you look at the first picture from the book further up, you can see that triangle number 1 has "a", "a", and "b" as the lengths of its bands.  And triangle 2 has "b", "d" and "d".  And so on.  The table above shows this as well.  Now, in the table above, what he's saying is that the "tab" in the printouts is always next to the letter in the third column.  So for triangle 1, in his pdf it will be a-b-a-tab.  Triangle 2 will be d-b-d-tab, and so on.  Here's what it will look like:

Four frequency icosahedron bands

You'll note above that triangle 3 is asymmetric (look at the big triangle at the top to confirm this).  Half the triangles are "left-handed" and half are "right-handed".  If you were to print out all the copies of triangle 3 and fold them the same way it wouldn't work.  

Here's the diagram from the book, but also showing the locations of the tabs once it's all put together, and showing left and right handed triangle 3.

Four frequency icosahedron instructions from Wenninger

Now the triangle above is just one "face" of an icosahedron.  Remember an icosahedron has twenty sides.  So you will need 60 bands for triangle 1, 60 for triangle 2, 120 for triangle 3 (60 left-handed and 60 right handed), 60 for triangle 4 and 20 for triangle 5.  Using Vince Matsko's nets that's 10 pages for 1, 2 and 4, 20 pages of 3, and 3.3 pages of 5 (4 pages with a couple of leftovers).

But.  If you were to print out the nets on A4 paper, the ball would be *huge* - double the size he says in his instructions.  So I resized the images and pasted them into a word document.  While I was at it, I flipped a copy of triangle 3 so the black lines would always be on the outside.  Attached is my word doc with the nets that I used.  It includes instructions on how many of each triangle you will need.

Right.  So now we've got the design sorted, let's get started.

I printed each triangle on a different coloured piece of paper.  And for triangle 3, I did the left and right handed triangles on different coloured paper (blue and green).

Four frequency icosahedron paper

Next, cut them up.  Each one took about thirty five seconds to cut.

Once they're cut, fold them up.  I folded them so that the black line from the printout would always been on the outside.  Each one took about twenty five seconds to fold.  I did most of this in front of the tv.

Four frequency icosahedron bands folded

Once they're glued into triangles (each one took about fifteen seconds), you can lay them out to see what they will look like before gluing.

Four frequency icosahedron triangles

I started a production line - got all sixteen little triangles for each face and put them together.

Four frequency icosahedron production line

Four frequency icosahedron production line

Then I put them together in the correct configuration, with all the tabs in the correct locations.

Four frequency icosahedron production line

And then glued them all together.  Here's all twenty faces glued:

Four frequency icosahedron production line

Now for the really fun part - gluing all twenty faces together into a ball!

Four frequency icosahedron with five faces glued

Four frequency icosahedron half way

Four frequency icosahedron half way

With six faces to go, it will fit quite nicely over your head.. ;)

Four frequency icosahedron helmet

And finally, we're finished!

Four frequency paper geodesic icosahedron

A very time consuming, but quite impressive effort :)

Making Stuff

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I've been making stuff.  All to be revealed soon :)

I was making stuff instead of cooking tonight, which means I'm going to need to get up early in the morning.. oh well..

Have also done a few entries on my new blog.  Again, all to be revealed soon!

To much to do, too little time.  Can I retire now?  I could really use another eight hours a day to get stuff done...

First quarter 2017 jigsaws..

This Simpsons jigsaw was done by some of the guys at work, and late last year I found it in a bin.  !!  So I retrieved it and did it at work.  It's one of those jigsaws where every piece is an "edge" so you can't start at the edges.  I mostly did it by picking up a piece and putting it where it was meant to go.  So it took quite a while.  Tried to finish it by Christmas but ended up finishing it the first week of January.

Simpsons jigsaw

This one David mostly did when he was up in January.

Dolphin jigsaw

The next one I did at home was a jigsaw James and George gave me for Christmas or birthday in about 2004 or 2005.  I remember starting it, ie doing the edges, when I was visiting Stu when he was living in Queensland.  But I never finished it.  This is why:

Horrible jigsaw

It took forever to do because I simply lacked motivation.  Here it is finished:

Panda jigsaw

After that I was super busy with trivia night and holiday planning.

On the Queen Mary 2 they have two big tables setup on either side of the ship in the games corridors where there's always jigsaws going.  

I did quite a bit of this 1500 piece one:

Comic jigsaw

And this 1500 piece one in the same series:

Comic jigsaw

Someone else started this one of York Minster, but I spent a good chunk of an afternoon on it and finished it:

York Minster jigsaw

This 1500 piece one had been going by some others since Sydney.  When I arrived in Hong Kong, there was just a little bit left and I helped finish it.  They put it away, but later on it came out again.  I started it one evening, spent most of the next day on it, getting it to about the point it was when I first came to it in Hong Kong.  I was going to go back to finish it the next morning but was busy reading info boards, and when I did get back to it, a lady from Wales had finished it.  But I feel like I did pretty much the whole thing :)

British Isles jigsaw

I helped with another couple of jigsaws on the ship but either didn't see them finished or hadn't helped enough to warrant a photo.

Saw this super cool thing today - Google Earth Timelapse.  

"Timelapse is a global, zoomable video that lets you see how the Earth has changed over the past 32 years. It is made from 33 cloud-free annual mosaics, one for each year from 1984 to 2016, which are made interactively explorable by Carnegie Mellon University CREATE Lab's Time Machine library, a technology for creating and viewing zoomable and pannable timelapses over space and time."

Check out northern Canberra - Gungahlin and its suburbs have only existed in the past thirty years... 

Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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