Vernicious Knids

Random musings and snapshots about life, love, travel and everything in between...

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

2006 Oscar Nominees announced...

My predictions for the winners....
Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote
Matt Dillon in Crash
Felicity Huffman in Transamerica
Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener
Brokeback Mountain
George Clooney for Good Night, and Good Luck
March of the Penguins
See here for the entire list of nominees.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

"And the stately ships go on, to their haven under the hill"

Last month I told you about the Swirling Sands in the Whitsundays - this is the boat we cruised around on. She is a genuine working Tall Ship called the Solway Lass and she was built in Martenshoek, Holland in 1902 and served both sides during WW1 & WW2! She has served in Holland, Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Fiji and spent 10 years on Sydney Harbour. She was fully restored in the 1990s and has 10 sails and 5500 square feet of sail area. She has had various names during her long history - Stina, Adolf, Dumfries & Bent! During Australia's Bicentennial Year (1988) she took pride of place in the First Fleet reenactment. There is a maximum of 32 guests onboard so you really get to know your fellow passengers and most importantly you don't have to line up for ages to use the Tarzan Rope!! You also have the opportunity to learn to hoist and trim the sails or have a go at taking the helm.

Corporate rigidity and conformist attitudes? Beware!

My stars for today:
"Today's prospects should suit the dynamic, idealistic being that you are, especially right now. There will be some criticism in the air, and you won't miss the opportunity to punctuate your comments with your well-known irony. Your viewpoints on corporate rigidity and conformist attitudes are well known, but today your sense of humor prevails and people listen to you with pleasure!"

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Rain, rain go away...

Today is cold, wet and miserable -
so I'm fantasising about the warm, sunny climes of Hawaii...

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Top 10 things to do for tourists in Tokyo:

  1. Visit the Hama Rikyu Onshi-teien (Detached Palace Gardens) in Tsukiji and look at the 300 year old pine tree then drink matcha (green tea) in the pavilion in the middle of the pond. Think zen thoughts.
  2. Take a Sumida-gawa (river) cruise to Asakusa and count - and photograph - the 11 bridges as you go.
  3. In Asakusa, stroll up Nakamise dori (Shopping street) and sample the sembei rice crackers and buy some omiyage (souvenirs) to take home and then make a wish at Sensoji (temple).
  4. Shop till you drop in the 29 floors of the Tobu Depaato (department store) in Ikebukuro then take an incredibly long escalator ride in the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space. Take the world's second fastest elevator to the 60th floor observatory of Sunshine City and and see Fuji-san if it's a clear wintry day.
  5. Be one of 2 million people rushing through Shinjuku station and head towards Touchou (Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices) where 13 000 sarariman (office workers) toil away. Fantastic, free views are available at the top of these buildings! Then go to Shinjuku gyoen (garden) especially if you are visiting during hanami (cherry blossom) season - late March, early April.
  6. Be one of the few gaijin (foreigners) to visit Koishikawa Kouraku-en. Encorporating both Chinese and Japanese landscaping it is truly breathtaking.
  7. Photograph the cosupure (Gothic-Lolita style costumed) teens outside Harajuku station before going to Meiji-jingu (shrine) - the most famous in Tokyo. You may even be lucky enough to witness a Shinto wedding party where everyone will be wearing elaborate kimonos!
  8. Catch the monorail over Rainbow Bridge to Odaiba and visit the Fuji terebi (Fuji TV) building to get a spectacular waterfront view of a Tokyo sunset. Head on over to Oedo Onsen Monogatari (Odaiba's Hot Spring Theme Park) where the buildings and shops recapture the atmosphere of the Edo era.
  9. Visit Koukyou (the Imperial Palace) and be waved at by the Royal Family on December 23rd and January 2nd. Otherwise just look at Niju-bashi (bridge) and then wander through the Imperial Palace East Gardens - just be sure not to make any "hideous noises" as these are strictly prohibited!
  10. Finally relax with a hard-earned beer at the Beer Museum Yebisu in Yebisu Garden Place .

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Britney - an over-the-hill Lolita:

"2005 - Couture chaos, wardrobe wrecks and stylistic sleaze"

Britney Spears - "princess of pop to the ultimate fashion flop" is top of Mr Blackwell's worst dressed list for 2005. She beat out Mary-Kate Olsen - "depressingly decayed in her bag lady rags", Jessica Simpson - "cut-rate Rapunzel slingin' hash in a Vegas diner", Eva Longoria - "garish taste", Mariah Carey, Paris Hilton - "yesterday's cheesecake ... with a side of kitsch", Anna Nicole Smith - "Queen Kong in cheap lingerie", Shakira, Lindsay Lohan - "drowning in grown-up groaners" & Renee Zellweger - "a painted pumpkin on a pogo stick" for the honour.

The Full Story

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Brangelina are pregnant!

Angelina Jolie, 30, and Brad Pitt, 42, are expecting the pitter patter of tiny feet next summer. They met on the set of their movie "Mr and Mrs Smith". Last month, Brad filed legal papers in Los Angeles to adopt Jolie's two adopted children, Maddox from Cambodia and Zahara from Ethiopia. Brad divorced Jennifer Aniston in October 2005 after 4 1/2 years of marriage. Jennifer is currently dating Vince Vaughan.

Tjapukai Aboriginal Centre

If you ever find yourself in Cairns, absolutely must visit the Tjapukai Aboriginal Centre especially at night.
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Totally bizarre stuff on Ebay...

  • Property on the moon with stunning view of earth - $4.99
  • Sex Pistols lunch box with matching drink bottle - $15.99
  • Ex-hubby toilet paper - wipe away bad memories - $9.95
  • Vibrating soap - $8.00
  • Pack of "shut the hell up" gum - $2.50

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Vending machines in Japan are everywhere and they sell absolutely everything including the 6th food group - ICE CREAM!
Apparently it takes 50 licks to finish a single scoop cone, chocolate syrup is the most popular topping and Sunday is the most popular day to purchase ice cream.
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Monday, January 09, 2006

Seijin no Hi

Today was Seijin no Hi (Coming-of-Age day). Japanese must wait until they are 20 before they can legally smoke, drink and vote. City Halls hold special ceremonies today to welcome them to the responsibilities of adulthood. To mark the occasion, many women wear furisode - a special kind of kimono for unmarried women with extra long sleeves and elaborate designs - men usually wear a suit. Until 1876, adulthood began for boys at the age of 15 and 13 for girls. During the Edo Period (1603-1868) girls had their teeth dyed black and boys had their forelocks cut off.
In 2001 there was a lot of controversy at the Kochi ceremony in Shikoku as several of the new adults heckled the governor as he made a speech. The governor shouted "shut up" and told them to leave. They apologised to him a few weeks later!
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Sunday, January 08, 2006


Raindrops trickling down the window pane,
Staring through the window it begins to fog up,
The train rushes past.

( My response to the word "pane" on One Word )

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Happy Birthday Rob...

Happy Birthday Rob...hope it's a great day and a dance-filled year!
"It makes no difference if you're black or white
If you're a boy or a girl
If the music's pumping it will give you new life
You're a superstar, yes, that's what you are, you know it"
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Hanabi (fire flowers) or fireworks are the highlight of summer in Japan. Most cities hold a hanabi matsuri (festival). Many people dress up in yukatas (cotton kimonos) for the occasion. Matsuri food like yakisoba (stirfried noodles), yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), okonomiyaki (Japanese style savoury pancakes), takoyaki (octopus dumplings), jagabata (fried whole potatoes with butter), tomorokoshi (barbequed corn cobs) and chocobananas (bananas dipped in chocolate) are sold. The displays of hanabi are so spectacular that you can momentarily forget the horrendous humidity and heat of summer here!
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It may be raw fish but it's delicious...

This is a sushi restaurant we often visit. The official looking man you can see at the front wearing the reflective bands is the parking dude. He directs the cars - and bicycles - to available parking spots. All restaurants and shops with parking employ these men - they are almost always men and usually retired - and they work in all kinds of weather. They wear white gloves and some are lucky enough to have light sabres too!
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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Dilbertian wisdom...

I'm not looking forward to starting work again tomorrow - it's been nice to have some time off though I can't believe how quickly it's gone. Why is it that holiday time always flies?! If only work went as quickly!
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Happy Birthday Alex...

Happy Birthday Alex - hope you are having a blast in Thailand!
"The gold road's sure a long road
Winds on through the hills for fifteen days
The pack on my back is aching
The straps seem to cut me like a knife"
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Monday, January 02, 2006

What time is it?
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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Wan wan (Bow wow)...

Happy 2006 - the year of the Dog!
Most Japanese people do Hatsumode today (first visit of the year to a shrine to pray for good fortune). As we didn't do this, I thought I'd post an obligatory pagoda shot instead. This gorgeous pagoda is in Kawasaki Daishi jinja (shrine) on the Keihin Kyuko train line. It's a 5 storied pagoda with 8 sides - I'm sure you are all scrolling back up to count them!
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