Month: October 2022

“Cycling Wars” in Australia

When shocked Europeans hear that I am sad about moving back to Australia, the lack of cycling infrastructure is one of the main reasons that I cite. And it’s not just that – some people are actively hostile to cyclists and in far too many cases have deliberately injured them. I have loved riding my bicycle in Munich. I ride it to work and the shops and the hairdresser, and I take short joyrides around the parks near my house, and every now and then I take a longer ride out of the city. In all of those rides, I rarely have to share the road with cars and I’ve seldom felt worried for my safety. I have a helmet but I don’t wear it very often. (I should wear it all the time, I know.) I see all kinds of people on bikes here – old people, kids, serious athletes, parents pulling bike trailers. None of this happens in Sydney. The end result is that I’m not going to bother to ship my bike back, because I know it will just gather dust and I’ll feel sad.

I should stop moping and go out for a ride today while I still can, I guess. 🚴‍♀️

Zac Efron in Chippendale!

I was delighted to see on my friend and neighbour Michael Mobbs’s blog that his Sustainable House in Chippendale will be featured on Season 2 of Zac Efron’s Netflix documentary series. If you watch the trailer, you can totally hear Michael’s voice in the shot where they’re drinking the water! I can’t wait to see it.

Here’s the trailer…

Goodbye Twitter

The Twitter takeover is complete. As soon as this whole rigamarole started a few months back I decided to start cutting down on my usage of the platform. In the end I’ve decided I don’t want to be counted as a Daily Active User on any platform run by that man, so today I downloaded the archive of all my old tweets and then used Tweet Deleter to blast them all. I’ve kept the account as I don’t want anyone to grab the username and pretend to be me, and I do still use it to log in to a couple services. But I’ve deleted the app off all my devices, and I’m going to do my absolute best to stay off it unless absolutely professionally necessary.

If you want to do the same, you can start by going into your Settings and requesting an archive of all your data.

Download your Twitter archive

Once you’ve got that, you can either delete your account or else delete each tweet manually. Tweet Deleter has a cost – I paid €12 for one month’s unlimited access – but I know that various folks are working on free Open Source solutions. (Here’s one.)

So what now? I plan on doing more blogging here, and going back to the old days of RSS feeds. I might think about integrating my old tweets into the blog somehow, but not sure yet. I’ve got like 700+ old posts that actually refer to my tweets, so I’ll have to fix those at some point too. I don’t think I’ll enable comments; if you want to ask me something, you can email or hit me up on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Thinking about architecture

The Snook found this listing for a pristine mid-century home in LA. Wow. I don’t like any of the furnishings (or the rugs and wallpapers), but I love the bones of the house. Only $7M. 😂

The Cognitive Shuffle Do-It-Yourself Instructions

I recently stumbled across this strategy to help you fall asleep. I’ve struggled with insomnia for a long time, mainly in that my brain will really fixate on a particular topic – even just a fragment of a song – and keep racing. I’m going to try this out the next time it happens and see if it helps at all.

Dubai, Australia, and Singapore

In June I made my first ever trip to Dubai! It was for a work function, so I headed off on my own with the Snook to join me a week later. I landed in Dubai close to midnight…

I caught a taxi to my hotel. Interestingly, I was directed straight to a cab with a lady taxi driver. Not sure if that was just due to the late hour or what, but I appreciated it. It was a longish drive to my hotel, so I spent the ride marvelling at the architecture.


Not sure what that was, but it was impressive.

Museum of the Future

That one I recognised – the Museum of the Future! It looks like an alien spaceship.

Burj Khalifa

There in the distance I could see the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. (It’s the very pointy one you can see between the two light poles there.)


My hotel was out on the Palm Jumeirah, a set of artificial islands that look like a palm tree from space. This was the hotel next door to the one I stayed in.

Swanky lobby

Yeah, it was a pretty swanky lobby. Well after midnight at this point, and all I wanted to do was crash in my room.

Less than 24 hours later, I was standing on a balcony overlooking the harbour…


Not a bad view! As I said, it was a work event, but it wasn’t all business. One excursion was “dinner in the desert,” which meant driving quite a ways out of the city to a nature preserve. It was very hot, so the tour guide gave me a head scarf.

Kris in the desert

The group headed off in a convoy of restored vintage convertible Range Rovers…


The nature area was full of Arabian oryx, the national animal of Dubai.

Soon we left the nature preserve and were driving over shifting sand dunes, with nothing as far as the eye could see except more sand. I’ve never seen anything like it.

The desert

I shot a short video…

As the sun was setting, we stopped to watch a bird show with a peregrine falcon (the fastest animal in the world). The falconer started with her hooded, and we were invited to hold her for a photo. I was the first person in line!


Apparently the Bedouins would use falcons for hunting. Our guide used a lure to exercise her, and at one point she swooped right over my head as she dove in for the bait. 😳


Dinner was at a camp in the desert. I was delighted to see a woman there doing henna tattoos and asked her to decorate my left hand. She drew it on quite thick and said to leave it for as long as possible to dry.

The falcon guy was back, this time with a beautiful owl named Athena!

Me and Athena

Our guide wanted to show us the constellations, but alas it was nearly the full moon so the sky was much too bright.

Night sky

There were also camels, but I’ve ridden them before in the Outback so I didn’t bother with a ride. I just said hello as I headed for the bus back to the city!


I did appreciate that they had little spit masks on though!

Camel mask

The other place I was very excited to visit was the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. It’s a fairly long drive from Dubai, but I was excited to catch a glimpse from the highway.

Grand Mosque

You have to park quite a ways away and then enter via a long underground entrance. When we emerged in the sunshine, I was blown away.

Grand Mosque

It was like something out of a dream. Our guide led us on a whirlwind tour, stopping at many points for photographs.

The inner courtyard was inlaid with beautiful floral designs in marble.

Marble floor

Obviously this is an important place of worship, and there are strict rules tourists have to obey. This meant I had to be covered and wear a head scarf (annoyingly, men did not), and you’re forbidden from things like public displays of affection or making disrespectful gestures.

Grand Mosque

But honestly, I was so blown away by the building that I willingly accepted the rules. I mean, look at that! It looks computer generated, it was so unreal.


The 96 columns around the courtyard aren’t painted; those floral motifs are inlaid with marble and mother of pearl. The colours against the white – especially in that bright sun – were hyperreal.

Column inlay

So I willingly put up with sweating in the heat…


I’ve been to a lot of Christian churches in Europe over the past two years. By and large they are either austere and foreboding, or filled with representations of human suffering. This mosque, on the other hand – even with its strict rules – felt welcoming. The decoration was entirely geometric and nature-based. I was entranced.

I mean… look at that.


We were also able to peek inside the hall at the “world’s largest carpet.” It was really big. It’s more than 60,000 square feet. 😳

Me and the really big carpet

I’m incredibly grateful I got to experience this part of the world. I do not agree with many of the actions taken by those in charge, but I have found people in the Middle East to be friendly and kind. It’s not a place I would necessarily choose to go on vacation, and rarely have I felt as foreign as I did there. But that’s why travel is rewarding – to challenge yourself; to see how other human beings live; and to experience a tiny bit of life outside your bubble.

Grand Mosque

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