Day 3 – Seeing RED

Last weekend I saw World War Zee at the cinema. Now, before anyone reads me my own rules, yes, last weekend is well before the 24 hour window I have allowed myself.

Bear with me.

I often do not find the trailers before a movie very convincing one way or another. Scratch that… most often it clarifies a whole bunch of movies I should not go see.

This time I was lucky; there were two good trailers.

First one is for Now You See Me, which looks like a fun cross between Ocean’s Eleven and The Prestige. I cannot say much more about that until I have a chance to actually see it when it is out.

Second one is for RED 2, which my friend immediately recognised as such. He was trying to recommend I watch RED, which I had not seen before, but that soon became a moot point.

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DAME HELEN F&*$%NG MIRREN casually dissolving a body in a bathtub while chatting to Bruce Willis. Followed a few shots later by a car chase where she wields double handguns out of opposite sides of a spinning vehicle. I HAVE TO SEE THIS.

Also, I have to see RED!

Which is exactly what I did tonight.

It’s a story of CIA operatives, cowardly Vice Presidents and obvious Villains. Nothing particularly special about the plot, except that it totally doesn’t take itself seriously.

This is an action movie filled with the most improbable moves and gun shots, taken so casually and with a big wink to the audience that there are times it is hard to contain a giggle.

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I’m glad I watched this.

Very glad.

And now I’m sad I have to wait till RED 2 is out, because I have to watch that too.

Easter Storm

About ten minutes into the storm tonight it occurred to me that I had access to a tripod and a good quality DSLR. The view out the front rooms has always been great for lightning; the house is on the raised side of the street and we have a rather good view out over the suburb here.

Lots of sky.

First lightning strike
First lightning strike
Second lightning strike
Second lightning strike

Unfortunately it turned out that most of the lightning was happening behind the cloud cover, so I got only a few single bolts, and lots of ho-hum shots with purple/blue clouds.

Passing cars
Passing cars
Rain bucketing down in the headlights
Rain bucketing down in the headlights

After a day of no driving (everything is closed on Sunday, so there wasn’t really anywhere to go) it seemed like everyone started driving along as soon as the rain started. Most of my shots have streaky headlights in the bottom. I kept a few of the better ones to show off how wet the weather was. Especially the last one shows off the bucketing rain in the headlights of a passing car.

Now… what was I doing before all this started happening?

Gold Coast

After Brisbane flooded it sounded like an absolutely stupid idea to go anywhere near Queensland. Well, it must have sounded stupid because more than one person asked me with some concern in my voice whether we were still going. Yes, we did… and I’m glad we did, because it turned out absolutely wonderful.

The Name of Our Hotel
The Name of Our Hotel

We managed to get ourselves a great deal online for “Circle on Cavill”; a fairly new hotel in Surfers Paradise with modern serviced apartments. Our booking said room 1351, so I foolishly assumed we’d be on a lofty 13th floor with a great view. Turns out we were on the vertigo-inducing 35th floor; the leading ‘1’ indicates we were in tower 1. The view was amazing… the floor-to-ceiling windows throughout were… unsettling.

Our Hotel
Our Hotel

Our room was in the slightly shorter tower on the left, about 2/3 of the way towards the top. The name of the hotel derives from the circular square at the foot of the towers that houses a number of fashion shops, a bakery, a few restaurants and a supermarket. As well as a grassy field looking towards the huge television suspended between the two towers (not visible in picture). You can get a good look at the layout in Google Maps.

Our "Room"
Our “Room”

The “room” we got was rather roomy… really quite a waste of space considering we didn’t spend great quantities of time inside. Or at least it didn’t feel like it. Master bedroom overlooking the ocean and a second bedroom in the back overlooking the river. Both views amazing.

Our Neighborhood
Our Neighborhood

This is the view from our room looking down… oh god… vertigo. We spent quite a few days traveling along the road in the middle of the frame sheltered under trees and ducking in and out of shops. It was quite amazing to exit the hotel and walk to the beach in 10 minutes or so. The location of these hotels in Surfers is just amazing. We saw some of the motels around the area, but if you can at all afford it, avoid them… the luxury of the hotels doesn’t come at a very big premium and the difference in luxury makes it more than worth it.

Sunrise
Sunrise

And one morning we decided to be silly and wake up to numbers on the clock that should never be seen… by anyone… I think it was before 5am. We waited patiently for the sun to rise so we could take pictures. It would have been great to get a shot without the band of clouds just above the horizon, but we decided we weren’t going to give it a second shot. After this we went back to bed again.

The Pool in The Sun
The Pool in The Sun

And then there is the weird pool… also on level 4. Doesn’t that pool look sunny and inviting? Sparkly and refreshing? Everything a visitor could possibly wish for? … Except that due to its positioning in the afternoon it disappears into the shadow of the taller tower. Now, the water was pretty cold to begin with, but swimming in a cold pool in the shade is not the best of experiences.

Getting Doused
Getting Doused

Still… in the direct sunlight my radiant white skin does heat up quite quickly. And it was *almost* worth the shock of the cold water on my back. For some reason none of the pools or waterfalls were heated… not the slightest bit. Now, if you have a pool in the full sun all day, I can imagine it stays warm enough regardless, or perhaps you’d welcome the icy water. But when it gets maybe 3 hours of full sun early in the morning, some heating would have been nice.

Stepping out of the cold water does feel kinda refreshing though in the sun. Even with the ocean breeze coming through. I didn’t look nearly as much as a drowned rat as I feared.

But when you sit down in the shade, the breeze does tend to cool the excitement a little. Not quite gritting my teeth, but I think we moved back into the sun further down the gardens shortly after this shot was taken. There were some lovely grassy areas with reclining seats that we made some use of. But again, not for long… when my skin starts looking pink it’s time to move on.

Lunch on the Last Day
Lunch on the Last Day

The final day was spent out on the shopping streets. We had some lunch. Nothing too exciting (Nando’s), and luckily we didn’t need to lug all our belonging along, because the owner of the apartment had given us an opportunity to leave our bags on the lounge of our room to be picked up a bit later the same day. Just our valuables with us… laptops… cameras.

The Strange Drunk
The Strange Drunk

When we got to the beach we had a few final wistful looks at the sand and the water, before spotting a rather peculiar figure out on the beach. You can see him just to the right near the edge of the photo. Hunched.

He was reading a paper next to a little pile of his belongings. And the waves started rolling in further. He occasionally glanced at the waves approaching, but didn’t think much more of it. Then when the next wave reached him he came to a rather startled jolt that prompted him to get up to evacuate… or so we thought.

It turned out he was rather remarkably drunk. He proceeded to construct a little sand-castle-mound next to his paper, on which he perched his shoes. And then he staggered around railing at the waves. We spent some ten minutes looking at the scene hoping a wave would take out his shoes to see what he’d do next, but it never got to that. Still, a highly amusing scene.

Laptop at The Beach
Laptop at The Beach

And then, a final walk along the sand for us. I easily could have spent another week doing nothing more than repeats of what we had been doing up till then. I still miss the rushing sound of the waves that continuously fills up the background there. Wafting in through the open bedroom window.

Anyway, it was a short but excellent trip. And Bronte was by all accounts a very good boy with Ab’s parents. Although he was quite over-excited to see us when we went to pick him up. But after 4 nights without us, I think he was allowed.

Ice Cream Factory

It happens once a year around the end of this month. Not XMAS. Not NYE. Ice cream! Moreover, handmade ice cream. I can’t quite remember when we got the first machine, but I do recall we got a second one shortly after so that we could produce larger volumes.

Now it is practically tradition. And some of the family are actually expecting ice cream for the season. Not that there is anything wrong with that; it gives me license to experiment with special flavours.

The Hardware
The Hardware

The part I still dislike the most is the repeated cleaning of the hardware involved. Making a 1 liter batch of ice cream involves a lot more dirty pots, spoons and machines than you’d imagine. Maybe this is why I prefer making whole batches at a time, because cleaning is less of a chore when it is brief and concentrated.

The Software
The Software

The fun part is the actual experimenting with ingredients… there is the basic custard recipe I’ve gotten really familiar with, but the fun is adding alcohol and/or nuts and/or fruit and/or whatever else to the mix. I’ve also started to branch out into sorbets a bit more since the Earl Grey / Mint / Lemon sorbet worked out really well last year. Very refreshing.

The Product
The Product

So far I have four flavours finished, with about six more to go before I call it quits until a bit later in the summer season. The flavours so far haven’t been too out-there (shown above from top to bottom and left to right: Passion-fruit Pistachio, Cinnamon-Chilli Chocolate, Cosmopolitan Float and Chunky Peanut-butter).

But there are a few more interesting options to come; Brown Sugar and Bourbon, Chai Tea and most interestingly, Goats Cheese.

There will be reviews of all the flavours as they get un-boxed and eaten.