Month: November 2022 (page 1 of 2)


The Best ALDI Wines for $10 or Less – As a connoisseur of supermarket wine, this is very relevant to my interests.

Of S’mores and Angels on Horseback

The many lives of Angels on Horseback

I enjoyed this little bit of investigation into the origins of the classic American campfire snack S’mores. Halfway through it turns into the much more interesting discussion of Angels on Horseback, a fancy hors d’oeuvre of bacon-wrapped oysters. I’ve never had those before, but I have eaten (and prepared) the similarly named Devils on Horseback. We usually do dates stuffed with Parmigiano cheese wrapped in bacon and baked in the oven. Really makes it feel like a classy 70’s dinner party…

Talking Heads play “Psycho Killer” in killer 1978 TV appearance

No reason. It’s just ridiculously cool.

Link courtesy of Boing Boing.

Visiting the Ammersee

It was still quite warm at the beginning of September, so we squeezed in a day trip to the Ammersee. This lake to the southwest of Munich is the sixth biggest in Germany, and it’s just a short 45min train ride to the end of the S-bahn line to Herrsching. As soon as we disembarked we hopped on a couple Deutsche Bahn “Call a Bike” bicycles to go for a ride along the shore.

Little Mermaid statue

Herrsching is on the eastern shore of the lake, and along the Promenade there is a statue called “Die kleine Seejungfrau” (“The little mermaid”). Rather than having a fish tail herself, she sits on top of a giant fish.


Nearby is the Kurparkschlösschen, a “little castle” built in the 1800s. Apparently you can rent it out for events!

We rode south along the Promenade dodging crowds of tourists and families, and then eventually got onto a hiking/cycling path right along the shore.

Cycling along the Ammersee shore

The Call a Bikes are pretty sturdy, and they do have a couple gears thankfully.

Fording a stream

At a couple points we had to ford small streams running down into the lake!

Fording a stream

Our goal was the Froschgartl, a little biergarten around 6km (3.5mi) south of the Kurpark. Eventually we made it there and put in an order for our lunch.

Lunch at the Froschgartl

Not a bad little burger! It’s not really much of a biergarten; more a couple picnic tables around a snack bar. Still, you can’t beat the view.

View at the Froschgartl

After our lunch, we walked over to the rocky beach to sit and digest for a bit.

Sitting on the beach

We had our swimsuits and there were people swimming, but that water was pretty cold! Instead we took off our shoes and socks and went for a little wade.

Wading in the Ammersee

That water is SO CLEAR. The rocks were pretty slippery though so we soon retreated back to safety.

Relaxing on the beach

Ahhhh, can’t you just feel the serenity? Look at that sky! (Also, there was a fully nude old dude like 10m to my left. Germans, man.)

Eventually we put our shoes back on and rode back to Herrsching, this time using the paved bike path along the highway so it was a lot faster. We went further north this time to the “Fischbach” part of the lake, where there’s a marina and a sailing club.


Soon it was time to head back, so we returned the Call a Bikes and caught the S-bahn home. The Ammersee was honestly one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been. If you’re in Munich and you have nice weather, this makes for a lovely day trip!

Me and Rodd

You can see our ride on Strava here:

A Ride Along the Isar

We booked our plane tickets back to Sydney for next month. Now every time I do something in Munich, I think about the fact that it might be the last time.

(I made the mistake of saying that to Rodd the other day. He pointed out that, you know, that’s true for everything all the time. I told him to quit being so morbid.)

Anyway, all that is to say I went for an Autumn ride along the Isar today, and I was very conscious that it might be my last long ride here, so I should savour it. I stopped to take several photos. 🍁🍂🚴‍♀️

On the Isar cycling path looking north

On the Isar cycling path looking north

Me by the Isar spillway

Bridge over the Isar looking south

I ducked into the Englischer Garten for part of the ride home.

Englischer Garten

I walked my bike through the Altstadt, where I was happy to see the Christmas tree is set up in front of the Rathaus!

Christmas tree in Munich's Marienplatz

I also grabbed a sunset photo of the Rindermarkt, one of the prettiest decorated buildings in Munich.

Rindermarkt at sunset

Here’s my ride on Strava if you want to have a look at the route.


“How to Join Mastodon, the Ad-Free Social Network Billionaires Can’t Buy”

I read that article earlier this week and it helped me finally understand how Mastodon’s decentralisation works. I’ve set up an account on and I’m playing around with my profile and following folks. If you’re over there, please connect! I’m 🐘


AustenlandI felt like doing some knitting today so I decided to finally watch Austenland on Netflix. And you know what? It was charming! As a big fan of Jane Austen (and someone who can pretty much recite the entire script to the 1995 P&P miniseries), I really enjoyed all the nods and references to the Austen-verse. The casting was also spot on. I yelled out lout at one point, “THAT’S MR. HURST!” Nicely done, movie. I also loved that Jennifer Coolidge was basically playing a nicer version of her White Lotus character, and I had fun spotting both Shadow Moon (from American Gods) and Dr. Gaius Baltar (from Battlestar Galactica) in supporting roles. As for the central romance, I was legitimately torn between the two guys in much the same way the lead character was. I mean, Bret McKenzie as a charming stablehand? But also JJ Feild doing a stellar Mr. Darcy impression? I totally get why it didn’t land with critics, but for Austen superfans, this was light but fun. (And don’t even get me started on the post-credits sequences. My head exploded, in a very fun way.)

And on the topic of Regency LARPing, I started the movie thinking, “I would totally go to Austenland!” And about halfway through I was right there with Jane thinking, “OMG this would be totally boring.” And then at the end I was like, “I want to go to Elizabeth Charming’s Austenland TOMORROW.” 🎢🫖

Prague, Regensburg, and Walhalla

As with last year, we decided to celebrate the Snook’s birthday at the end of July by heading off on a big summer vacation. The only problem was that I had just arrived back from a work trip to the US, and while I made my short connection in DC, unfortunately my suitcase did not. Oh well.

No suitcase

Fortunately I had other suitcases and enough underwear to head off without it. 😂 We caught the “Alex” train from Munich to Prague at 12:43pm on Monday and spent nearly six hours watching the beautiful countryside roll past.

Alex train to Prague

That evening we crossed the Vltava river and pulled into Prague’s main train station.

Vltava River

Our hotel was the Falkensteiner Hotel Maria Prag, just a short walk from the station. It has been newly done up, apparently, and it was really conveniently located for getting around. After checking in, our first goal was dinner so we headed (up a big hill) to The Tavern.

Dinner at the Tavern

Yummy burgers and Czech beer! We were pretty happy. And wow, food and beer are cheap here.

The next morning we downloaded Rick Steves’ walking tour of Prague (mp3) and walked the few blocks from our hotel over to the starting point at Wenceslas Square.

Wenceslas Square

The “square” is actually a long boulevard with the Czech National Museum at one end. It’s the site of many famous historical events, including the Velvet Revolution in 1989. It’s named after Saint Wenceslas, aka Václav the Good, the patron saint of Bohemia. (And yes, the one from the Christmas carol! I had that song in my head for days.)


There were a lot of pro-Ukraine flags and signs in Prague. ❤️🇺🇦

We followed the tour and slowly made our way down the square, learning about famous points along the way. At one point we ducked into the Lucerna Arcade to see a special artwork – Statue of King Wenceslas Riding an Upside-Down Dead Horse. This is by surrealist artist David Černý.

Statue of King Wenceslas Riding an Upside-Down Dead Horse

We also wandered through the nearby Franciscan Garden. There were a few other tourists and locals having their lunch in the sunshine.

Franciscan Garden

Another stop along the way was the Powder Gate, one of the 13 original gates to the city. Now it separates the Old Town from the New Town. It feels a bit odd to see this medieval tower from 1485 alongside modern cars.

Powder Tower

Just past the Powder Gate is Municipal House, a stunning Art Nouveau civic building that houses a concert venue. We ducked inside to have a look around. (Trivia: It’s also where INXS filmed the “New Sensation” video!) There were a LOT of places we passed along the way advertising classical concerts for tourists, so my tip if you go to Prague is to do your research ahead of time and book something in.

Municipal House

There was a steady stream of tourists heading towards the Old Town Square.

Walking through the Old Town

The Old Town Square is ringed by buildings in lots of different architectural styles. I liked this very decorated one.

Old Town Square

Here’s the Snook looking across the Square to the Old Town Hall. The Square is also where the Prague Easter and Christmas Markets happen.

Old Town Hall

The column coming out of Rodd’s head is the Marian column, with a statue of the Virgin Mary on top.


The audio tour also directed us over to the Jan Hus Memorial, where we heard all about the Hussites and the Bohemian Reformation.

Jan Hus Memorial

I love the spires on the Church of Our Lady before Týn. It reminds of some castle from a Disney movie… a bit Gothic and scary. I’m slightly regretting that we didn’t go in, as it’s where Tycho Brahe is buried.

Church of Our Lady

After exploring the Square itself, we turned back towards the Old Town Hall for our next landmark…

Old Town Hall

See that crowd of people gathering to the left? If you ask any person about going to Prague, they will invariable mention the astronomical clock.

Prague Astronomical Clock

The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest clock still in operation. We managed to time our visit to noon so we could see the little figures go around and Death come out to strike a bell.


As you can see, it’s a massively popular tourist stop! Once the chiming was over (which was honestly a bit anticlimactic if you ask me), we followed the crowds down Karlova Street through the Old Town towards the Charles Bridge.

Karlova St

The Old Town Bridge Tower is very imposing. Construction it was started in 1357! For many centuries, Charles Bridge was the only means of crossing the Vltava River.

Old Town Bridge Tower

Just off to the side of the Bridge Tower is a statue of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor. He’s the one that started building the bridge, and who it’s named after.

Status of Charles IV

Time to head across!

Old Town Bridge Tower

The bridge has lots of status on it, and it’s the final stop on the Rick Steves tour. One of the most famous is John of Nepomuk. The story goes that Nepomuk was the confessor of the Queen, and the King wanted him to divulge her secrets. Nepomuk refused, so the King had him chucked over the side of the bridge into the Vltava, where he drowned. Poor Nepomuk! At the base of his status is a bronze relief with a dog on it, which has been rubbed gold by thousands of visitors over the years. (It’s said to bring good luck.)

On the Charles Bridge

On the other side of the river, you can just see Prague Castle up on the hill. (We were saving that until the next day.)

Vltava River

And that’s the end of the audio tour! We had worked up quite an appetite, which was perfect as we had a very special reservation to get to back in the Old Town.

Church of St. Salvator

This is the Church of St. Salvator, which we passed along the way. Nice support of Ukraine!

Statue of Franz Kafka

Over in the Jewish Quarter we found this statue of Franz Kafka. Kafka was born in Prague, and there are a lot of tributes to him.

Our destination for lunch was La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise, a Michelin-star restaurant that we saw on an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s show. We went for the full tasting menu, with the Snook getting the wine pairing and me going for the non-alcoholic.

For the amuse-bouche, they brought us beef tartar with tuile crackers, salad, and a sort of savoury macaron with fennel seed. I had seen Bourdain rave about the tartar so I was excited to try it, and it did not disappoint. I also remember really liking the salad leaf, which had some intense dressing on it.

Lacy cracker

And how beautiful is that lacy tuile cracker! I have no idea how you make something as delicate as this. (We both seem to remember the waiter telling us it was made from potato starch.)

Golden beet, tomato, ramson

The first course was “Golden beet, tomato, ramson.” If you’re wondering if that sauce has a lot of butter in it, you’d be correct. 🤤

Trout, toast, horseradish

Next was “Trout, toast, horseradish.” That’s not trout skin; that’s a piece of very thin, golden, salty toast on top.

Duck, sweet corn, cranberry

Third course was “Duck, sweet corn, cranberry.” I believe the cranberry was actually that pinkish powder on the side.

Pork, mushrooms, pasta

Last savoury course was “Pork, mushrooms, pasta.” The pork was hiding under that beautiful silky sheet of pasta.

Dark beer, blueberry, basil

Dessert was “Dark beer, blueberry, basil.” It looked a bit like a strawberry, with the green dots of intense basil. Rodd described it like a beer zabaglione. (He also said it gave him mild trypophobia.)

They also brought us a few small bite-sized bits to end the meal, including a little frozen dessert and a plate of fresh fruit.

Us at La Degustation

That was a lovely way to spend an afternoon! ❤️

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Petri Dishes

Why did images of early pregnancy cause such a social media firestorm?

Like many folks, I saw these images shared on social media in past few weeks. I never doubted their veracity though. I have a vivid memory as a kid of visiting the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and seeing their Prenatal Development exhibit. I’d recommend it to anyone. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and I’m not surprised that some folks would rather believe that at 4 weeks an embryo is a miniature person rather than an undifferentiated clump of cells. #stillprochoice


We Baked Loads of Pies to Find the Best Pie Pans

This is relevant to my interests. 🥧