Tasmania!

A month ago, D and I spent ten days driving around the little island at the bottom of our big “island”.

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There we checked out MONA – a private museum owned by an eccentric, sex-and-death-obsessed billionare, …

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… soaked up the atmosphere at Hobart’s Salamanca Markets, …

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… took in the views from Mt. Wellington (it’s worth clicking to expand this one to full size), …

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… and immersed ourselves in the violent history of Port Arthur – Australia’s most famous convict settlement (as well as the fascinating, naturally occuring “tesselated pavement” on the way there) …

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… – a violent history that could also be seen at “Old Hobart Town” (a scale model of the city during it’s early days).

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After Hobart, we were off to the stunning Freycinet National Park, …

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… the picturesque Cataract Gorge near Launceston, …

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… the bizarre geology of “The Nut” at Stanley, …

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… the rugged peaks of Cradle Mountain (seen from Dove Lake), …

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… the less pristine, but still impressive mountains of Queenstown, …

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… the beautifully unspoiled Gordon River (near Strahan), …

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… the isolated Lake Pedder (which I managed to fall into), the controversial yet remarkable Gordon Dam …

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… and the simply breathtaking Russell Falls.

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But perhaps best of all, everywhere we went we had close encounters with the local wildlife; Tasmanian Devils, …      DSCN5001  … pademelons, …DSCN4918    … wallabies, …DSCN4708   … bandicoots, …DSCN4643   … and even a rarely-seen baby wombat and platypus!IMG_1435DSCN5245

Though, we can’t forget that some of the less-wild animals were just as cute, like these two at Giant’s Table Cottages in Maydena (our favourite place to stay out of all the accomodation we tried).DSCN5236

Now we have just one more state to tick off our list before we can say we’ve stepped foot in each one!

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Like this? Wanna check out our previous trips, like this one or this one in Malaysia, or this trip to USA?

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100 Followers!

811w2ro9yhl-_sl1200_Lesley Stanfield
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Malaysia Round 5

Oh, Malaysia, my old friend! It was so nice to see you again! Let us reminisce about those days spent together in January/February …

First stop was the island of Langkawi, where we stayed at the beautiful Frangipani Resort …

D silhouetted on the beach near the resort

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… took a cable car ride to the peak of Gunung Machinchang …

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… took a day trip around the islands with ‘Rampant Sailing’ …

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… and checked out their Underwater World.

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Then, after a quick shopping stop in Kuala Lumpur …
DSCN4101… if was off to the familiar streets of Kuching, where we re-aquainted with D’s family cat, Mao …

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… sought out another beautifual waterfall during a jungle trek at Gunung Gading …

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… and celebrated Chinese New Year with family, food and fireworks!
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Till next time, Malaysia!

Like this? You might want to check out our previous trip where we included Penang, or this quick video of our USA adventure.

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Andy’s Movie List 2013

Hey there! Here are some movies I liked from last year. (Note: The list might look a bit weird because eligibility was determined by Australian release dates – full list here)

10. Amour

A couple face the ultimate challenge to their love (old age and sickness). It’s a sad, seldom-told tale depicted with brutal realism, but there’s beauty to be found too.

Anne didn’t appreciate her new ear-warmers

DA (Devil’s Advocate) Says: Cold, clinical, depressing and dull.

9. Much Ado About Nothing

Admittedly my enjoyment of this film had a lot to do with the thrill of seeing so many Joss Whedon alumni together in one place. But it’s such a fun, witty adaptation of the Shakespeare play that even non-Whedonites should find plenty to admire.

“Must … resist … checking out … maid’s legs”

DA Says: An ill conceived update that ends up being an insult to the Bard in every way.

8. The Impossible

By focusing on one (white) family’s story, it may skimp on portraying the unfathomably massive scope and tragedy of the Boxing Day Tsunami, but it sure does a good job of getting across just how much it would have sucked to have been on the beach-front when the wave hit.

“Dammit! I knew we should have gone to Afghanistan. But ‘no’ they said. ‘Too dangerous’ they said!”

DA Says: An opportunity to address a genuine catastrophe is ignored in favour of self-centred middle-class rubbish.

7. Frozen

Well, this is the first time I’ve included a straight-up Disney film in my list and left out the year’s Pixar offering (Monsters University). And why not, when Disney gave us such a visually exciting, funny, touching movie?

“Hi, I’m Cute Disney Sidekick Number 34″

DA Says: Unfunny and full of inane songs, with a plot that is entirely predictable yet somehow also makes no sense.

6. Django Unchained

Although it didn’t captivate me quite as much as Inglorious Basterds, it still provided plenty of everything you want in a Tarantino flick – great performances, snappy dialogue, nail-biting tension, and yes – copious amounts of violence.

A frame from the 15 minutes of running time where a character isn’t covered in blood.

DA Says: Juvenile, perverse, ridiculous and very poorly paced.

5. Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I never thought I’d care much about the Hunger Games franchise but the first film exceeded expectations, and by fleshing out the story outside of the game arena this second film shot my expectations through the heart with a dozen arrows. Bring on part 3!

“But seriously, is my hair okay? Did I go too far with the matching purple eyebrows?”

DA Says: It’s almost impossible to care about the characters, it’s over-long, and it has one of the most badly rushed endings in the history of cinema.

4. American Hustle

Like a great con artist, the film is overflowing with charm and wit. But there’s enough of a beating heart beneath the facade that it elevates itself above the usual clever but emotionally empty crime-caper flick.

Hangover-Guy would rue the day he messed with Batman’s hair.

DA Says: Overhyped trash that’s all style, no substance.

3. Before Midnight

Perhaps it wouldn’t be a great film as a standalone piece, but something about catching up with the two star-crossed lovers almost 20 years on from their first meeting in Before Sunrise is incredibly satisfying. As we see them deal with a whole new set of relationship issues (the honeymoon period is definitely over by this point) all we can do is watch and desperately hope it’ll all work out.

Celine was always a sucker for the shirt-half-tucked-in look.

DA Says: An uber-pretentious, whiny art-house movie that says nothing of actual importance.

2. Life of Pi

Just scraping into eligibility for this year’s list (it was released in Australia on New Year’s Day), this was the first 2+ hr film I’d seen in a long, long time that I actually wished was longer. As a fan of the book I had no some minor complaints but it’s still an incredible cinematic achievement – especially considering everyone seemed to think it was an “unfilmable” story.

Tony Tiger wasn’t too sure about the new Frosties commercial …

DA Says: Yes, it looks pretty, but the plot is dismal and the religious subtext is just lazy and pretentious.

1. Gravity

One of the most breathtaking cinematic thrill-rides ever created. It’s a technical masterpeice in every way, but despite all the flashiness, you do care about the fate of the characters. Also I think it may have finally convinced me that 3D movie technology can be used to make something truly special. Avatar eat your heart out!

“Tell everyone my last words were … umm … YOLOOOOooooooo”

DA Says: Full of plot holes, scientific impossibilities and unbelievably vapid dialogue.

Honourable Mentions: Cloud Atlas, Iron Man 3, Lincoln, Pacific Rim, Paranorman, Stories We Tell, Zero Dark Thirty

Just a Few of the Movies I Didn’t See: Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Anchorman 2, Blackfish, Blue Jasmine, Captain Philips, Filth, The Gatekeepers, A Hijacking, Philomena, Prisoners, Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Worst Movie (That I Saw) of the Year:

Star Trek: Into Darkness

“Aww. Now you’ve gone and hurt my feelings”

Oh God. So many people are going to hate me for this. You’re hating me for it right now, aren’t you? Aren’t you!!?

Wait, before you answer that, let me make things worse for myself by admitting that I missed the entire opening sequence. The whole bit with a volcano or something? Yeah I didn’t see that. So maybe it’s an unfair choice for worst movie, but I feel confident in saying that I wouldn’t have enjoyed it much anyway. I just wasn’t on the right wavelength for it. Maybe it had to do with not being much of a Trekkie (I got the feeling that there’s a lot in the film specifically for long-time fans of the original show) but to me it felt too much like a big dumb explosion-fest … kind of like “Michael Bay presents Star Trek”.

Okay, I’m sorry. Bringing Michael Bay into it was uncalled for.

Edit: I just realised I totally left out The World’s End. That should be in the top 10 somewhere.

Like this? Hate it? Let me know what you think of my choices below, or check out my picks from 2012 and 2011.

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Daily Painting No.83 – Spiderman is Having Dinner Tonight

andytallman101:

Thankyou, Maugryph!

Originally posted on Maugryph's Blog:

the cure spiderman is having me for dinner tonight

For Andytallman101. Andy asked me to draw Spiderman with silverware in hand ready to pounce on Robert Smith. The lyrics in Lullaby inspired him. I heard of The Cure but never really paid much attention to their music. I watched one of their music videos on YouTube and thought they where pretty decent . I was struggling with drawing Spiderman upside down, then I realized ‘you fool, flip the canvas 180!’. Note to self: do more then one thumbnail for every painting you do (do a dozen!). Halfway painting this I realized a different shot would of been more effective.

1 hour 30 min. Photoshop with a Wacom tablet :)

View original

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Hottest 100 Votes – 2013

January is here, which means it’s time to choose my 10 favourite songs of the year and vote in the JJJ Hottest 100 !!

The Drones – Why Write A Letter That You’ll Never Send

My favourite track of the year. Nine and a half minutes of slow building bliss.

Arcade Fire – Reflektor

It took me a few listens to get on board with this one, but now I can’t get enough.

Eels – Bombs Away

After a few disappointing albums, I feel like Eels returned to form with 2013′s ‘Wonderful Glorious’ – most notably on this opening track.

Queens of the Stone Age – Kalopsia

Any year that QOTSA release an album is a good year for music. I had trouble picking just one song (If I Had a Tail and Smooth Sailing came close) but in the end I went with this track because it sounds unlike anything the band have done before.

Cloud Control - Promises

The right combination of great melodies and passionate, rough-around-the-edges vocals make this a winner.

The John Steel Singers – Everything’s A Thread

Catchy and full of manic energy. Great use of falsetto too, which always gets bonus points from me.

The Flaming Lips – You Lust

An extremely long, incredibly repetitive track from a year when the Lips continued their quest to go from everyone’s favourite lovable weirdos to just plain weirdos. ‘The Terror’ is their most challenging album since 1998′s ‘Zaireeka’ (and only because that album had to be played on four CD players simultaneously) and this track in particular pushes all sorts of boundaries. But with it’s bold experimentation and hypnotic vibe, I have a lot of love for it.

Abbe May – Perth Girls

A damn sexy track. It seems like Abbe can do no wrong.

Atoms for Peace - Judge Jury and Executioner

As a Radiohead fan, it’s hard to ignore anything that Thom Yorke is involved in.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Jubilee Street

Another wonderful slow-burner. I loved the rock’n’roll phase that Nick went through recently, but it’s nice to hear him in ‘meandering ballad mode’ again.

So, what do you think? Love these tracks? Hate them? What were your own favourites of the year? (It doesn’t matter whether it’s the kind of music Triple J would play, or not).

Liked this? Check out my Hottest 100 votes of 2012 and 2011 too!

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12 Songs in 12 Months

In January I decided to do one of those “record a song straight to camera and upload it on Youtube” dealies. I was time-poor, so getting something out there quickly with a minimum of fuss appealed to me … and as often happens with these things, it became a habit.

That’s why I now have one song for every month in 2013.

Wanna have a listen? We can call it my self-indulgent and very late Christmas present to you all. Here’s the playlist (each song will queue up automatically) …

Or here are the links to the individual songs and a bit of background for each …

I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon - Sesame Street (December)

A Sesame Street classic by Ernie of Bert & Ernie fame. I used to play this with my band pretty often and it always got a good reaction. I look stupidly serious in the video but I thought that’d be better than having a forced cheesy grin. I’d also recommend taking a nostalgic trip with the original version.

No Surprises - Radiohead (November)

I played this on my new toy at the time – a cheap little ukelele. I was heavily inspired by Amanda Palmer’s version (also played on ukelele) but the original is still unbeatable.

Ukelele Anthem – Amanda Palmer (October)

And this is the reason I bought a ukelele in the first place. Amanda Palmer’s original is such a wonderfully wordy, funny and inspiring song. It’s also kind of difficult to play, which is why I had enough footage for a blooper reel at the end.

I Want Out – Original (September)

An original song I usually perform with Cape Town Lullaby. It’s one that I’ve always liked but we’ve never recorded properly. It’s also one of the only tracks where I got to rock out and get a bit shouty.

Sonnet – The Verve (August)

A beautiful song but perhaps one of the weakest tracks in terms of my playing. It’s just that bit too high for my vocal range.

Heathcliff – Original (July)

A lightning-fast version of the shortest song I’ve ever written. The lyrics are about the character from Wuthering Heights but the music has a knee-slapping backwater country-USA vibe to it.

(!) The Song Formerly Known As - Regurgitator (June)

I wanted to turn this very funky song into a fragile love ballad because the lyrics are actually very sweet. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, but it’s the only track where I got a mean comment, so I could be wrong about it. Then again – maybe that’s just Youtube for ya!

Fresh Feeling – Eels (May)

At this point I’d recorded a lot of sad songs (an Eels specialty) so I thought it was time for something upbeat (also an Eels specialty). Here’s the original. The visuals here are quite glitchy (as with many of the songs) because I didn’t figure out how to stop it until almost December.

Gone Away – Offspring (April)

I tried to bring out the underlying melancholy of the original track and feel like I succeeded. The visuals are ridiculously dark (by mistake) but it kind of suited the song.

Ant Farm – Eels (March)

This is the one that people seem to like the most (600 views!), which is fair enough because I think it suits my voice well. It’s also a fantastic, underrated song from one of the greatest albums ever (Electro-Shock Blues).

Lucky – Original (February)

An old school original song that I first played with a previous band back around 2004. Fair warning: the visuals are badly lit and a bit out of focus.

You Have to Be Joking – The Flaming Lips (January)

The start of it all. I was particularly rubbish with the camera but I’m happy with how the song sounds. Have a listen to the original too, here.

I’d love to get your feedback on any of the recordings, so fire away in the comments! Other than that – have a great New Year’s and I’ll see you in 2014 :)

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