Gaming brings people together

Turns out you can play a game of Pathfinder with 3 party members in one room and the DM and the other party member in a room 16,200 kilometres away (or 12,750 if you just go straight through the whole thing).

You’ll need a bunch of hardware on either end and decent network connections, but with two laptops and a PC on one end and two laptops on the other end you can make it work. Running Inkscape for the map, Teamviewer for the connection and Skype for the social interaction, it all works surprisingly well.

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The first time we tried it, but certainly not the last. Black Skeletons and Champion Skeletal Archers beware!

Perfect Dark

Sometimes the best things about a place are about what’s *not* there – like light pollution. http://darksitefinder.com/maps/world.html

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Heaven

It’s interesting how close to the skin my sewing experience is to me (no pun intended). Before we left I joked that all I needed to settle in was a fabric store close by. Turns out this is truer than I knew.

Some disappointing experiences at Lincraft and the other options in the CBD left me feeling a bit out of sorts. Apparently fabric á 150 AUD / meter is a thing down here, while tracing paper is not. They buy single patterns and cut them straight out. I should have known, since they do not seem to sell sewing magazines like Burda anywhere. The Needlefruit Sewing Lounge in Paddington seemed promising online, but turned out to be just for sewing courses.

However, the lovely lady there did point me in in the direction of The Fabric Store in Fortitude Valley. This is where I finally felt at home. So much nice fabrics arranged by color and material. Mostly plain instead of busy prints, often really fun but just not me. And next to cottons they have jerseys as well, which is a rare thing in this part of the world. I got a mustard cotton and a beautiful red raw silk for the projects I have in mind, and some tracing fabric (when in Rome…). But I’ll be back for more! They are open on Sundays as well, and they are having a sale at the moment….

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St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival Brisbane

It doesn’t quite feel as much like summer without a nice music festival. St. Jerome’s Laneway started out as a Melbourne affair, but has spread to all of the major Australian cities including Brisbane and features a great lineup of promising and established talent with a modern sound.

We got a chance to see Methyl Ethel, Majical Cloudz, Japanese Wallpaper, Diiv, Health, Big Scary, The Internet, Battles, Violent Soho, Grimes, Chvrches and Purity Ring.

It was great getting back (or at least closer) to that old Lowlands vibe (thank the heavens for chips in cups!). From the poppy and booming Grimes to the experimental and attention-demanding Battles. With amazing performances like the drumming in Health, Battles and Big Scary to the promising talent and enthusiasm of young acts like Methyl Ethel. And unlike Lowlands, rain is actually a welcome refresher in the Brisbane weather.

And it’s nice to be able to fit in some personal favorites like Chvrches. More so because they were virtually exploding off of the stage with a performance that takes them from promising indie band to self-assured power act. It’s a rare thing when a concert feels both personal and fun, but also energetic and larger than life.

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What stood out as typically Australian: a smoker’s section (no smoking in the concert tents); no sweets – just deep-fried and BBQ and a bit of ethnic food, but all savory; far less drunkenness, probably because of prohibitive alcohol prices; a distinct lack of weed smells; slightly more polite and generally happy looking audience; horrible Australian fashion sense extending to festival outfits, with many (too?) revealing outfits added on top for women; hotpants are back in full force; Australians clean up after themselves in daylight, but when night falls they make up for it.

Stormy night in Night Vale

Our first thunderstorm down under started building up at sundown, with the mountains as backdrop. Did I already tell you I love the view from up here? Lightning was beautiful, but I understand Australia has more spectacle to offer.

I’ve been spending my mornings on the balcony as well. After the Kiss and dark chocolates, we now also have “our” coffee cups. The more things change, the more they stay the same. But I do have (and make) more time for reading. Finished “Welcome to Night Vale”, the book from the podcast of which there will be a show in town next month. I liked the book better than the podcast. It’s just as weird but with a more defined story line and dare I say plot. It’s still Night Vale, but the book allows you to set your own pace and reflect on the ideas now and again.

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I bought this book in Brizzy, at a 50% discount. There’s plenty of bookshops to be found all around town, but unfortunately a lot of them have closing down sales. Seems like the bookshop will soon be a thing of the past here as well. Alas, I too will contribute to their downfall, with an e-reader filled to the brim with unread books…

The view down here

Not too bad actually, we have a 270° view towards Mount Coot-tha and on clear days can see mountain ranges on the horizon.

The full 270° at night:

Stuff, stuff, glorious stuff

Our shipment finally arrived on Thursday January 14th. It took a bit longer than the promised 10-14 days, since pick up in The Hague was on December 16th….

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Turns out that signing up for http://www.meetup.com/, the Fri-Arv-Grog (my attempt to translate vrijmibo to Aussie, but it doesn’t have the same ring to it) and even a quick chat in the elevator are pretty good ways to meet the locals.  Aussies are pretty friendly and welcoming folk, that’s for sure.

So what do you do on a cloudy, drizzly Saturday in Brisbane? Right, you sew!

Daily grind

At the end of the first week of work, I’m still trying to decide on the daily routine. The early bird here definitely catches the cooler wurm, it’s just hard to break old habits.

Spent the weekend doing a fat lot of nothing, reading my new book (http://www.welcometonightvale.com/) on the roof and making my first poached egg since chemistry class. Jaap has been more productive, working on our shoe storage solution.

Next step is to get a workout routine into the mix. My bike is still in transit and in any case I won’t be using it like I did in NL. I guess it’s the gym for me. It’s right there on the roof. Just get up and go. You can jump in the pool afterwards to cool down and enjoy the city view. Why are you still sitting on your lazy ass?

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Meeting the neighbors

Nothing like a fire alarm to get to know your neighbors. 10 year old Jasper was quite excited about the whole event, but his 12 year old sister Kayla couldn’t be bothered much. We needed to calm our nerves afterwards with a T&T. Cheers!

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Classic T&T

Now that we’ve had a taste, we can’t wait until it’s 19 October. And we won’t wait until then either before we pour ourselves another G&T, or T&T as the local bottle shop would have it. And thanks to the amazing Hong Lan asian supermarket for the sweet limes.

T&T BeforeT&T After

An even more belated gin & tonic for a belated birthday party – cheers Cath! Better late than never, right? Right?!