Archive for June, 2007

24-hour food

So, it was 12.20am and I was hungry. Discounting the CBD itself (where there’s Stalactites, China Bar, Chillipadi, a couple of breakfast/all-night places on Swanston St, and things in Lygon St. tend to open till late), where do you go to get food? L’Incontro on Swanston St. generally doesn’t count – their food options are limited, to non-existent.

24-hr Pancake Parlour in Doncaster? Chapelli’s on Chapel St? (maybe you actually want to find parking, avoid the drunkenness and the definite booze+drug bust on the trip home.)

Well, I found the Pancake Parlour at Glen Waverly still open (lucky me, its a Friday night/Saturday morning, so they open till 3am), so I was saved from having to chow down fast food at a Maccas drive-thru.

Where do you eat when hunger strikes after midnight?
(maybe next time we’ll investigate restaurants that close at 2am… there are a lot more of these, I assure you)

The Reason Australia Lacks Unlimited Internet Plans

ever wonder why there are no true “unlimited” internet plans in Australia?

…but where does the bulk of our internet content come from? Ahh, the US and Europe, a land-mass with an even higher population density.

So that means international cables, and they make our costs of running copper from Ballarat to Bendigo look like pocket change you couldn’t buy a bag of mixed lollies for. And they cost a lot to run. And they’re owned mostly by a very very small number of companies, who have to pay the USAians and the Europeans on a per-gigabit basis for our traffic, as well as maintain the big pipe plugs at each end and several multi-million-dollar ocean going vessels (with highly trained, highly paid crews) to do maintenance and repairs.

from a nice informative forum post

for everyone looking for the best place to search for internet plans in australia, don’t forget the previously mentioned just type in your land phone number and filter accordingly.

On the Cheap at Queen Victoria Market

I suppose this falls in either the blatantly obvious or didn’t know that category. In the past, the Queen Victoria Market was an essential place to buy cheap vegetables, meats, cheese, etc. More recently, the markets have been classed as a tourist attraction which has brought a majority of vendors selling all kinds of Melbourne and Australian souvenirs.

In many countries (such as the US), supermarkets are the cheapest and fruit and vegetable markets are few and far between. In Melbourne, meat, fruit and vegetables are considerably cheaper at markets. On average, you will spend at least half of what you do at the supermarket.

A couple of tips:

  • Best times to buy: Right before closing time. Around 3PM on weekends.

Picked up some Fuji apples, typically around $3/kg at normal times, for $2/kg right before closing.
Safeway/Coles: Around $5/kg if available.

  • If you plan to eat the fruit soon, look for a bin of very ripe fruit. They usually clear these out at very cheap prices.
  • To get a feel for good prices, both Coles and Safeway have an online presence where you can look prices up beforehand.

Feel free to add any other tips in the comments.

Picture by Jari Kurittu

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Chopsticks, forks and spoons

Ok I have an admission to make.

I find it extremely amusing observing Caucasians eating in an Asian restaurant or food hall.

I know it’s the cultural difference, but it cracks me up everytime a Caucasian attempts to eat rice with just a fork. I know I’m making broad generalisations here, but I fail to, no wait, I think Caucasians fail to understand what a fork is used for. A fork is primarily used to spear a piece of food while it’s being cut. An Asian rice dish with meat, vegetables and gravy is often wet, pasty and breaks easily. Now wouldn’t a spoon be an ideal way of scooping the food into your mouth to?

Can Melbourne become a tech capital?

The Age recently reports the Top 10 Tech Capital in the world – Melbourne and Sydney are no where near them and to be honest, I am not at all surprised. The report also kinda summarise why Sydney [or Melbourne] can yet to measure up with the Top digital cities. Here are my little two cents in reference to the report:

  • Huge internet bill – Personal experience: having to pay 60 bucks each month for internet is abhor and it’s like living back in time when internet is still dial-up predominant, which to a very humble international student who came from Hong Kong means living back in more than 10 years ago.
  • Overall SLOWWWWWWWW internet connection – it is a wonder how could 128kbps ADSL connection still exists and could be regarded as broadband service. Faster speed is still available to a limited extent however, it’s nothing compared to Japan’s widely available 100Mbps connection.
  • Expensive mobile subscription: Even my mobile allows GPRS, MMS, push-to-talk, etc. the huge bill again encourages me only to text and mostly make calls to people within my network.
  • Lack of free wifi facilities: other than Joe’s Garage in Brunswick Street, I still can’t find any other free wifi spot in Melbourne. Unless you count University which the usage is restricted to students and staff or State Library which you have to be a registered library user. And seriously, I just can’t see myself using Telstra hot-spot services available at Starbucks which could even bring an even bigger bill to my mailbox.
  • Interestingly, Melbourne 2030 actually addresses telecommunication under the heading of A more prosperous city. Have a look at what it says.

    All negativity asides, it is observable that the telecommunication charges is improving in Melbourne and Melbourne’s digital future should remain fairly bright. But it is undeniable that we still have a lot catch-up to do when compared to the digital cities mentioned in the report.

    Three Shot in CBD

    Three people were shot in Melbourne’s CBD, opposite the Rialto building, at about 8:15 this morning.

    One is in critical condition, and the other two are unknown (though the story was last updated by the Age thirty minutes ago, so hopefully they’ll update soon).

    As of 8:49, the gunman hadn’t been caught, but a friend reports via text that there were helicopters and police cars “screaming” through the CBD, so presumably he/she’ll be caught soon.

    Update I: One of the victims has died, the other two rushed to hospital. The gunman has been identified as male and police are conducting a search for him in the CBD. They have cordoned off the area around Flinders, Spencer, Collins and William, where the shooting took place.

    Update II: The gunman apparently knew his victims, so police are urging people not to panic. At the same time, don’t head down to the area unless you need to be there. Police are asking people to stay in their offices if working in the area.

    Update III: That’s the second or third time a police chopper has gone over my North Carlton house, so they’re either being really through or expanding the search.

    I’m off for a while, so further updates at The Age and The Australian (which seems to be pulling from the Age’s wire). The Herald Sun is also ‘reporting’ on this story, and has video on their main page (I can’t believe I just went to the Herald Sun for you).

    Shrek merchandising overkill.

    I have absolutely nothing against Shrek – but is anyone as annoyed as me at the ridiculous amount of movie merchandising the latest Shrek sequel has generated?

    Shrek is appearing literally everywhere and irritatingly screen-hugging from every advertisement on TV for different products from different brands. The dodgy advertising further kills it.

    So nauseating. I might puke if I actually go watch the film.

    Martinis and Bones Tonight


    Martin Martini and the Bone Palace Orchestra are playing this evening at the Evelyn. I’ve never actually seen them, but met Mr. Martini when he rocked up to my patch of grass out the front and declared we were neighbours. We then shared a couple bottles of wine and tunes of his amazing gramophone. The wine was delicious, so I’m repaying with a plug.

    They’re a six-piece gypsy rock band (Martini described them as a “circus band”) and sound like heaps of fun. If you haven’t settled on plans for tonight, may I suggest a trip to the Evelyn at 9pm. It costs $10 to get in.

    If you can’t get in tonight, they’re playing again in Geelong next weekend!

    You have to stop and admire it

    fog1 (fôg, fŏg) n.– Condensed water vapor in cloudlike masses lying close to the ground and limiting visibility.

    Colin beat me to the fog post. But here’s another take on the fog.

    Doesn’t the city look more resplendent and beautiful with the fog hugging the ground so tightly? Seen from a human eye, hues of light are broken into little droplets of water and colours. Quite magical. I don’t believe I’ve seen so much fog in the inner city before.

    I’d thought it’s just an odd occurence in the CBD, but sitting on the tram on my way home (my body’s still not fully recovered to ride my bike), my vision was cloudy and everything looked blurry 20meters away. Getting off the tram in Brunswick and walking through the fog, I felt like I was walking through a cloud, with the little mists of water spraying against my face.

    Walk and drive slowly everyone. We don’t need another half-broken body alongside mine. :O

    The fog is thick out there

    Boy is it foggy out there. Everyone’s driving like 10-30km/h slower than the speed limits on the Princes Hwy. And I guess its fair, since we’ve got a road weather alert out there – visibility under 100 meters in the thickest fog. Earlier, I couldn’t even see the traffic lights from a not-so-far distance (yes, bad).

    All in all, if you’re on the road, observe signs and maintain a greater distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Arrive safely.

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