Moving on?

In the movie Serenity, actor Chiwetel Ejiofor plays a character with no name, a “true believer” who is working tirelessly away to create a better world. Unfortunately, because of the way he goes about it, there is no way he can be part of that world.

I’ve found myself in a similar situation. Having put some time into a project, and seen it reach a certain level of success (and learned some painful lessons in the process) it seems there’s nothing much left to keep me involved anymore.

Had anyone else had that kind of experience? What’s been the hardest part of letting go for you?

how many Google products are there?

The ambitiously titled post An Amazing list of all the Google products and how they are used provides a list so long that about halfway through I thought “I’m sure that’s everything”.

Just how much of your information have you uploaded to one of the services of a company that has no direct accountability to any government, or even (as far as I can tell) any particular individual?

I don’t want to be another conspiracy theorist, I just want to encourage you to think about what information you’re sharing, and about your privacy settings on the different sites where you’re sharing things.

Baffi and Mo Espresso, Redfern

Baffi and Mo Espresso, Redfern
Artecaffe coffee. 94 Redfern St, Redfern. I spotted this place on my way to eat st diner (which now appears to be closed). I think it was the stylised moustache logo that made me remember it, and it wasn’t too long before I made the trek to check it out.

egglets and muffins, baffi and mo's

When you first walk in to look at what food might be on offer, you’ll be struck with the display of egglets and muffins: – they’re filled with a creative range of gourmet ingredients. If you take them away (especially the chorizo, tomato and egg egglet) you might find them a little oily: – the one I had leaked through its paper bag rather severely, and was a little tricky to eat without cutlery. They’re delicious, but I would try and eat in with them, not take them away.

the kitchen, baffi and mo's

Look beyond the muffins and you’ll see a bustling kitchen: there’s always something to look at, and an impressive moustache or two to be seen!

where the magic happens, baffi and mo's

This brings us on to the coffee. They have a decaf grinder, and they grind each coffee to order. It’s $3.8 for an excellent, slightly nutty, decaf latte that is well worth the visit in itself. This is one of those places that reminds me why I like drinking coffee.

sit down and read the paper, baffi and mo's

If you’re looking for a longer stay, you can sit and read the paper, and enjoy some daylight, the buzz of conversations around you, and the interior design.

A couple of other reviews:
simon food favourites
unbearable lightness of being hungry

Movie: Despicable Me (in 3D)

Movie: Despicable Me 3D

An animated comedy where the 3D doesn’t add very much (except perhaps for the rollercoaster scene, and the end credit scenes where they’re using the 3rd dimension to good effect). Steve Carrell is the voice of Gru, an aspiring super villain with an army of cute and slapstick-amusing “minions”. When he ends up with three adopted daughters in his life, how will his priorities change?

It’s not a deep-thinking movie, but has some laugh out loud slapstick moments, and some cartoon-like characters that are fun to watch.

Shenkin, Erskineville

shenkin, erskineville

Jack and the Bean coffee. 53 Erskineville Rd, Erskineville. To drive past this place you would never realise just how large it is – there is room out the back for dozens of people, and a team of cheery staff move quickly around to make sure everyone is looked after.

shenkin, erskineville

We visit on a Saturday morning: there’s a wait of a couple of minutes for a table – the cafe is full of people from various walks of life. Out the back, a couple of mothers’ groups are gathering for a catch-up, others have come from their yoga classes or just as part of their daily walk around the suburb. It’s a place for anyone to feel comfortable and well looked after.

shenkin interior 1 of 2

Inside, the main thing that greets you is a diverse range of muffins, chocolate treats and pastries. Seldom before have I seen a display that works so well for achieving impulse buys: while we wait, a number of people purchase their amazing-looking muffins when they go to settle their bill.

shenkin interior 2 of 2

Look further afield, and you can see their dedication to coffee. There’s a range of coffee-related equipment – if you’re by yourself, you’ll find plenty of distractions to think about there. If you’re tired of those, you can read one of the magazines that are on display.

shakshuka with hummus

The menu has all the cafe standards, and some traditional Israeli dishes. I try the shakshuka ($14.50) – two eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce, served with freshly made bread. I added a side dish of hummus ($2.50). It’s plenty to eat, filling me up for both breakfast and lunch combined.

shakshuka with hummus

The only slight disappointment was the decaf latte: it was well made (with perhaps too tall a head of foam) but I didn’t enjoy the flavour for the first half: – it had a good finish, though, leaving me considering a second cup, but trying the hot chocolate instead.

They do an amazing Belgian hot chocolate ($4) – sweet, chocolatey, the perfect temperature, and the same thing in a larger cup poured over ice ($4.50), which has that odd mixed hot-cold sensation normally reserved for an affogato

A little on the side, Darlington

A little on the side, Darlington

Campos coffee. Cnr ivy St and boundary rd, Darlington. Bolted onto a set of Medina apartments, this cafe has a breezy, relaxed feel to it as I arrive for a late lunch.

Water comes to the table (bottle and glass) without me having to ask, an when my coffee arrives, I’m told about the free wifi that’s on offer. The staff are incredibly friendly and hospitable.

There’s a good-sized set menu: breakfast is served until noon, and lunch from noon until three, when the cafe closes. It opens each day at seven, except Sunday, when it opens at eight.

The decaf latte is smooth, drinkable temperature, and after some initial acidity settles down to be quite mellow and pleasant.

ride to work day

Earlier this year I went for a bike ride with a friend, and really enjoyed it. I mused on the idea of riding to work, and so I looked up one of the “no excuse zone” maps that the city of Sydney council has put together.

The brakes work now. #sydneymorningphoto #ridetowork

I live a long way further out than even the 30 minute zone, and so I put my plans of bike riding on hold. I still wanted to be able to ride a bike, though, and I mentioned this to my brother, who had a spare mountain bike lying around that he hadn’t ridden in a long while.

I even tweeted about it – that it was way too far to think about. Someone else at work tweeted back that it was perfectly reasonable to ride that far, and so I formed a crazy ambition: to ride my bike to work for ride to work day.

It took longer than I was hoping to get a bike that I could ride, but once I had it (the spare mountain bike), it was a matter of getting the brakes checked at my local bike shop, and then – three weeks out – doing some practice riding. After a couple of trial runs, I rode half way to work (to figure out which way to go as much as anything) on the long weekend, and then did some distance rides with a friend out at the M7 bike path – I only managed some of it, and found out just how unfit I was.

Yesterday morning, I hopped on my bike and – disaster – the front brake wasn’t releasing properly. A sleepy Kel came out to see what I was doing, and helped me figure out that it wasn’t the brake that was the problem, but that the wheel nuts had been over-tightened. With that changed, the bike was working again, and I headed in, completing the 22km ride in a little over 2 hours (I’m hoping to get faster at riding as my fitness improves).

I felt a bit tired by the end of it, and was ready for a good night’s sleep last night, but was otherwise unscathed. If I can ride a bike that far, I think anyone can!

And yes, I took my bike home on the train last night rather than riding home again: if you take a bike on a train during peak hour (6-9am, 3:30-7:30pm) you have to buy it a child ticket, so overall, I saved $2 by riding to work. I can’t say that saving money was the aim of the exercise this time, though: it’s been more about building up fitness, and trying to accomplish a personal goal.

If you’re thinking about riding a bike in Sydney, have a look at the links above, and also at the RTA pages about bikes.

DVD: Once Upon a Time in the West

DVD: Once Upon a Time in the West

Italian director Sergio Leone is the man from whom the term “spaghetti western” originated – a film set in the hey-day of the USA’s “wild west” made by an Italian director, and often filmed (at least in part) in Italy.

IMDB’s plot summary is pretty straightforward, but I would encourage you to watch the film as I did – knowing as little about it as possible. The plot crosses a few lines that surprised me from a film of the time: the age of some of the casualties, and how aggressive some of the adult content is onscreen.

It’s clear that the language of action cinema has moved on since this film was made: its lingering, slow shots are a thing of the past – the latest approach for action movies is more the Paul Greengrass approach. Ultra-short time between cuts, a focus on the action, not the emotion.

Watching this movie has made me realise there are a few other westerns I should watch – some more Sergio Leone, and some older classics. It’s also shed new light on my understanding of Kill Bill – another source from which Tarantino has borrowed heavily.