Cheeseburger Gothic

Reports my death are greatly exaggerated.

Posted February 15, 2009 by John Birmingham
Well, unlike Murph or Trinity I didn't really get sick, or if I did, the big box of anti-biotics and a long sleep at the McKinney ranch sorted me right out. I was fine again by the time I flew out of Houston.

Seattle was the next stop, which was kinda weird because I'd spent so much virtual time there in Streetview on Google Earth. I knew the city, or the parts of it in the book at least, very well, in a two dimensional sort of way. It was passing strange to finally be there in 3D and put the whole thing together like a big diorama thingy.

The hills suprised me. On screen, you don't get a sense of how the downtown area falls away dramatically to Puget Sound, or how the vibe of the city changes from one avenue to the next. I was staying down on 1st at a Kimpton Hotel (this Bristol maybe?) Like all Kimpton hotels it had a theme, in this case, literature, which meant my room, which was huge and plush and very beautiful, was also decked out with masses of books. Actual books, not just the empty covers and spines you get in some places. There was also a fireplace and a separate lounge and I could have quite happily lived there.

It was a few blocks down from the market district, which I really loved. So too would Mr Flinthart I expect, given the number of freaks and weirdos and top shelf buskers there. Did my gig at the uni bookstore who were very welcoming, and had a curry afterwards with Dave and his family - one of Craig's mates who works for Google.

The following day I did some signings and had a look around for research purposes, before flying out, or rather attempting to fly out for LA and home. Having done the whole tour without a hitch it was inevitable I'd come a cropper right at the end.

First they thought I was on the wrong flight, one I could possibly catch, then I turned up on one part of the booking system but not the right one. Finally after forty minutes of thinking I might be staying a little longer in Seattle I made it onto my actual flight, which was then delayed because there was no captain to fly it.

We left about an hour or so late and got into LA with less than an hour before my Qantas leg for home left. Unfortunately the airport was shutting down and there was zero indication of how to make that connection. No signs. No staff to pester. Nothing. I wandered around an emptying terminal until a cleaner suggested I leave. Outside a security guard pointed me at another terminal, which did have some Qantas flights, so I joined the back of a long, slow moving security queue. About halfway up I thought, this is taking so long I can't possibly catch this flight. Finally through I went looking for my gate, but entirely without luck. Having run through most of the terminal, which was being rebuilt, I at last found a Qantas staffer who told me I was in completely the wrong building. I'd have to go back out onto the street, and do the security shuffle all over again in the next terminal.

Nnnnnnnaaarrggh.

I almost gave up, but really didn't fancy spending the next few days at LAX while I tried to find a new connection home so I sprinted through the night and hit the next long snaking security line where I got my first break when nobody questioned my bogus entitlement to barge right up the front of the speedy, elite line and toss my bags into the x-ray machine like a Spartan javelin champion.

Made the flight, sweating like a pig. Felt real sorry for the poor Canadians next to me.

Anyway, I'm home now, jetlagged, but pushing on thru until bedtime.

33 Responses to ‘Reports my death are greatly exaggerated.’

Abe ducks in to say...

Posted February 15, 2009
Welcome back. You haven't missed much.

Geez I hate LAX.

Respond to this comment

kittenheel swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 15, 2009
I will assume that it is an oversight that you skipped over my town while you were in America. After all, it is the 4,549,836th largest metropolis in the state. *turns nose in the air and pivots importantly on heels*

Respond to this comment

Flinthart has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2009
Whoa! You made it through the LAX disaster leg! Nice one. Oh - welcome back. I take it your house neither burned down nor floated away while you were gone?

Respond to this comment

Bangar has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2009
Welcome back, you didn't leave a tap on did you?

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2009
Marvelous. SF, SD, NY, Houston, Seattle. Not a bad sampling. Glad you safely got back home - and just in time to continue working on the fourth book in the AoT series!

Respond to this comment

Domestic Daze reckons...

Posted February 15, 2009
Welcome home, looking forward to hearing your tales of adventure, when you re-join the time zone.

Respond to this comment

WalkingShaw puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2009
Well done JB! Welcome home...

Respond to this comment

Brian would have you know...

Posted February 15, 2009
Hmm . . .yes, looking forward to some distracting travellers tales. Just got a 'flee or stay' advisory for the next suburb over. Any distraction would be nice about now.

The Californian and Montana fire guys have turned up. So have 8 Indonesian Victim ID specialists. I reckon its worth a Blunty on those guys. Had a surprise yesterday Boeing have been raising money for the guys down here. US $750,000 - the Company matched it. US$1.5 million. All done internally. I was pretty gobsmacked by that - a post by a guy over on Baen. Unfortunately beyond that post I can't attribute

Here's the post :

""Well, when I logged in at work this morning, first thing that popped up is

that Boeing is doing 100% corporate match on donations to Aussie Brushfire

Relief. . . So I threw a hundred bucks your way, and Boeing is throwing

another hundred. (Heck, I worked 18 hours overtime this pay period, time

for a little more charity. . .)

But by the time I logged out at close of business today, Boeing employees

had donated over 3/4 of a million dollars. (There's a widget on our Intranet

that dispenses such factoids. . . )

In ONE DAY.

Plus the match.

Nobody said anything, just a simple announcement on the login web page. But

the response makes me damned proud of my fellow Boeing people. In a nasty

recession and job cuts coming, and we STILL helped. . .

My REAL hope is that this is just a typical example. . . . . ""

How about that?

Respond to this comment

sibeen puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2009
Welcome home, JB.

Brian, as someone from Melbourne, I'd like to give a hearty thanks to yourself and all the staff at Boeing.

Respond to this comment

girlclumsy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 15, 2009
Welcome home!

Respond to this comment

Bangar reckons...

Posted February 15, 2009
Thankyou, such generosity is appreciated and never forgotten.

Respond to this comment

Nocturnalist swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 15, 2009
That's an excellent turn by the Boeing crowd, much respect to them.

In other news, a ComicCon interview with JB has been serialised on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAm3TpgbeNE

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted February 15, 2009
good to see you back, in one piece and knackered... NOW BACK TO WORK!

Respond to this comment

MudCrab is gonna tell you...

Posted February 15, 2009
Should of gone to the FunHouse on 5th ave. Like the review says 'if only there was a bar where I could get drunk, see Japanese punk bands and play half court basketball'.

The Sci Fi museum in the Seattle Center (ie the bit with the Space Needle) is really cool too.

Respond to this comment

Big Bad Ad asserts...

Posted February 15, 2009
Damn, they let you back in.

Respond to this comment

CraigWA is gonna tell you...

Posted February 16, 2009
Well I'm just hoping my flight back this afternoon is a lot less exciting than yours. My only transfer is from the train to the plane and I have plenty of time to spare, so I'm expecting it to go smoothly. Great seeing you again.

Respond to this comment

Murphy mutters...

Posted February 16, 2009
Well, Trinity and I hope you enjoyed your first visit to the States. Hopefully it will be the first of many. We hit the ground on Monday with a rolling deployment at 0730 hours and didn't stop until we both hit The Wall on Thursday which brought us low. We both seem to be recovering though. Thank God we didn't pass it on to you.

I hear LAX is a SuperBitch to get through. I think if I go Down Under I'll have to go in the opposite direction.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

JdR ducks in to say...

Posted February 16, 2009
Yep, LAX is a nightmare. The Canadian missus refuses to go that way. Thankfully there's now the occasional direct Sydney/Vancouver flight to we can visit the relatives.

Respond to this comment

MickH mutters...

Posted February 16, 2009
Welcome back JB!

I bet it's good to be home!

Respond to this comment

yankeedog mutters...

Posted February 16, 2009
Good riddance...er, glad you made it back!

Hope you enjoyed your visit, but it's always good to be home.

Next tour, a stop in the Midwest, please. Dinner's on YD.

Respond to this comment

Guru Bob mumbles...

Posted February 16, 2009
LAX sux...

Respond to this comment

Therbs mumbles...

Posted February 16, 2009
LAX! Don't know what you people are complaining about. All you need to do is get there the day before your scheduled departure.

By the time the religious freaks have had their way with you you'll be in such a state of dissociation that you'll be smiling your way on board like a valium junkie from the 60's.

Glad you made it back, JB. Hope Brisvegas doesn't flood!

Respond to this comment

Murphy reckons...

Posted February 16, 2009
Chicago. I definitely lobby for Chicago on an After America tour.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Chaz mumbles...

Posted February 16, 2009
Sorry, you went somewhere?

Respond to this comment

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 16, 2009
Wow, LAX sure seems to have gone downhill. When I last passed through in 91 it was as slick a sh!t through a goose. 25 minutes from arrival through security & check in to sitting in the boarding lounge. At the time I understand it was the busiest airport (Pax not flights) in the world. I battled Heathrow and found Le Giardia(snicker)& LAX relative joys.

RE: "Actual books, not just the empty covers and spines you get in some places."

I thought my leg was being pulled when I first heard of this, but I was shown a mail order catalouge where you could get "The Classics" in a choice of leather binding colour to match your decor without all those bothersome words and disturbing ideas.

Unbelievable!

Murph, on the same trip I walked from the central railway station in Chi town around the corner to an ATM then a resturaunt. When I left the resturaunt a nice man with a revolver relieved my of my folding cash. So polite & well dressed it was a surreal moment. He even gave me my money clip back.

I was lucky that while dining I had transferred most of my money to my big wallet that contained passport, credit cards & airline tickets stashed in my boot.

So yeah Chicago is an interesting place to visit.

Respond to this comment

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted February 16, 2009
Oh, and postscriptus.

Very Fine Work Boeing.

Respond to this comment

Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted February 16, 2009
NBob, I'm sorry to hear that. Sadly, that could happen anywhere in the world.

I passed through LAX on the way to Korea in 1992 where we joked about the fires per the Rodney King Riots (which had long since passed). It seemed okay when I was there but that was years ago.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Guru Bob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 16, 2009
Murphy - Flinthart was in LA for those riots - wrote an article about it for me in the student rag...

Respond to this comment

savo reckons...

Posted February 16, 2009
Flintheart was the LA riots.

Welcome home John. Staying in Brisvegas for a while or continuing the Grand Tour?

Respond to this comment

Murphy reckons...

Posted February 17, 2009
GB, I have very little good to say about those riots other than, "Typical."

An amazing thing.

1. I'm angry.

2. I'm angry so I'll burn my house down.

3. You've sent the cops to stop me from burning my house down so now I'll burn the cop car and go down to the only store in my neighborhood, owned by my friend, and burn it down.

Even Martin Luther King Junior, responding to the Watts Riots, wondered just what was accomplished by this sort of behavior. Do you know what the response is?

"We made them (meaning the Oppressor class) pay attention to us."

If MLK Junior couldn't figure it out or explain it, I'll be damned if I can figure it out.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

tygertim mutters...

Posted February 17, 2009
Glad you're home, JB, and DIDN'T pick anything up from youse knows whom.....

Let me know when your next trip is and I'll take you someplace nice.... Steak AND Lobster?

Respond to this comment

NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 17, 2009
Murph, anger don't have to make sense.

The African Amercian population had been complaining of rascist assaults by LAPD for 40 years, any & all complaints were disapeared. Finally they felt they had evidence - video footage of a beating. The footage was broadcast on high rotation for weeks which built up a fine head of righteous indignation - somewhat like the 911 footage.

When the case fell over (probably for the very best of legal reasons) elements of the population lost any remnant faith in "The System" and suspended their end of the social contract.

It was a tiny minority, as in the other race riots, that actually took to the streets. Many who took to the streets were not politically / socially motivated - just out to do some burning.

I am not not not justifying or condoning the actions taken, just trying to explain to myself how such a terrrible situation could develop.

Respond to this comment

Murphy reckons...

Posted February 18, 2009
NBob, I understand the frustration. I'm frustrated about things but I do not respond by burning my own house down.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Reports my death are greatly exaggerated.'

The McKinney Ranch Hoedown.

Posted February 13, 2009 by John Birmingham
The latest in the series of JB's World Tour Shout Outs goes to the senior Senator from the Peoples Republic of Texas who put in a huge effort looking after your main man here when I pulled into Houston yesterday.

I was feeling kinda worn out after New York, where I may have given things a bit too much of a nudge. The Senator settled me down into the Presidential Suite where I rested while he worked the phones on behalf with the book lovers of the city. I'm thinking Random should hire him as publicity consultant as his arm twisting skills with the readin' public seemed to be considerable.

A good gig was had by all, and we repaired to a local high end noshery where of course I had the steak. It was qite beautiful, so tender that I only needed to wave the knife over it and perfectly medium rare chunks would away.

I'm in Seattle now, having finished my uni bookshop gig, which was also good fun. CraigWAs mate Dave and his family took me out for curry afterwards and I've just got back to my hotel, which is somewhat swish. A room so big and well appointed I think I could live here.

Tomorrow I'll sign books and do the Underground tour.

51 Responses to ‘The McKinney Ranch Hoedown.’

Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted February 13, 2009
A steak I had in Texas was the best I ever had. As someone who only recently learned the definition of "Seppo" I am gratified to know we've shown you decent hospitality.

Respond to this comment

Brian mutters...

Posted February 13, 2009
Good eatin'!

Paul - to be fair. We only explain the term seppo to our mates. Mostly we prefer to leave people confused.

Respond to this comment

Moko has opinions thus...

Posted February 13, 2009
mmmmmmm steeeeak.

Respond to this comment

DrYobbo puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2009
'Seppo' is best left unused in Southern company, purticly Texas. Would you believe that they actually get offended?

One of the better steaks I had in Sydney was ironically at a tex-mex place in the Golden West. Ribeye you only needed to look sideways at and it melted onto your fork.

Respond to this comment

girlclumsy ducks in to say...

Posted February 13, 2009
Mmm, steak.

Sorry, I've got nothing else. ;)

Respond to this comment

girlclumsy is gonna tell you...

Posted February 13, 2009
And I copied Moko without even realising.

I need a good nap.

Respond to this comment

Abe is gonna tell you...

Posted February 13, 2009
Hope you've managed to upgrade to Business Class.

Respond to this comment

Lobes would have you know...

Posted February 13, 2009
I hope you put a dent in his cellar

Respond to this comment

Brian mutters...

Posted February 13, 2009
How big was this steak? Did it have a suitable garnish? Did you have a choice with gravy ie ketchup. diane, mushroom, a cheeky little number made with an approved wine?

On a sadder note. The grape harvest in SA and Vic has been severely damaged by heat waves and fire - best to start stocking up the cellars and wine racks immediately. Hmm . . . perhaps Victorian truffles are going to be in short supply as well - I'm not precisely sure where they've sourcing them, but if its the Yarra Valley, well . . . .bye, bye.

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted February 13, 2009
Brian, they be Crispy truffles

Respond to this comment

savo asserts...

Posted February 13, 2009
Did y'all go huntin' 'n fishin'?

Yarra Valley OMFG!!! I have some superb 2001 DeBortoli Yarra Yalley Shiraz. I'd better check on it!

Yup, still good.

Respond to this comment

Trowzers swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 13, 2009
Unrelated to anything previous, but just noticed a new Tarantino movie trailer seems to have snuck out: http://www.pajiba.com/inglorious-basterds-trailer.htm

Hmmm, not really a Tarantino fan, but Brad Pitt in some sort of Dirty Dozen-ish remake by Tarantino? ... I dunno what to think. This movie has been on the radar for years, I guess it has made me curious. Be interested to see what other thought.

Respond to this comment

Brian ducks in to say...

Posted February 13, 2009
That reminds me. Texas does concealed carry. So . . .did you get properly dressed? What's the proper dressing for a Jackalope?

Respond to this comment

damian ducks in to say...

Posted February 13, 2009
Best steak I've had was in Rockhampton and not at all expensive. This was at the Cri - the 19th century hotel in the middle of town - but probably could have been anywhere, and not at all expensive.

Culturally Rockie is probably about the same distance from Brisbane as Texas is from California, though I wouldn't push that analogy too hard. I have no doubt that some of the finest steaks in the world can be had in Texas, but it may be the one truly parochial streak in me that wants to insist: Queensland beef is the best beef.

Sounds like a great ol' time anyhoo, hope all goes well.

Respond to this comment

damian mutters...

Posted February 13, 2009
Meh, overedited or underedited or something... price was significant because it easily equalled steak that cost 4-5 times as much

Respond to this comment

DrYobbo mumbles...

Posted February 13, 2009
I see your Rockhampton and I raise you a Casino. THE ONLY TRUE BEEF CAPITAL. FACT. A concrete and chicken wire bull with frequently stolen bollocks does not a Beef Capital make. Not compared to the glory and wonderment of the Miss Casino Beef Week pageant.

Respond to this comment

Mark R. Whittington asserts...

Posted February 13, 2009
Hmm, I had no idea that Kay Hutchison was a fan.

Respond to this comment

Mark R. Whittington reckons...

Posted February 13, 2009
Hmm, JB said "he" which suggests John Cornyn, who is the junior Senator from our great state.

Respond to this comment

Nautilus ducks in to say...

Posted February 13, 2009
Sorry Doc Yob, it is an established fact that the Beef Capital is in Wagga Wagga!

Respond to this comment

yankeedog mutters...

Posted February 13, 2009
You should get a good steak-it is Texas, after all. I'm told Houston is a decent stop if in the Lone Star state.

OT- "On a sadder note. The grape harvest in SA and Vic has been severely damaged by heat waves and fire - best to start stocking up the cellars and wine racks immediately."

-Brian

I was going to ask you locals about that. There has to be some crop and livestock losses down there. We get a lot of Oz wines up here-looks like it'll cost a bit more now. Which state in Australia is considered the 'breadbasket'?

Respond to this comment

James has opinions thus...

Posted February 13, 2009
JB - if you get a chance, Mario Batali's dad runs a cured meat and sandwich shop on the southern end of downtown Seattle called Salumi... HEAVEN

The only great restaurant in the city is a place called Wild Ginger - and it really is fabulous. High end fusion food... and really worth the time

Wish I was still in town to host you at one of them!

Respond to this comment

damian reckons...

Posted February 13, 2009
Doc, I hear you there but I still hold that there's a certain unworldliness about Rockie... hard to explain I guess.

I did learn recently that after the Maralinga tests in the 50s a cloud of strontium-90 was tracked passing over central Queensland. Perhaps this goes some way toward an explanation...

Respond to this comment

CraigWA puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2009
I hope you find much joy in hearing all about Thomas Crapper and his toilets on the Seattle Underground tour.

Respond to this comment

jennicki is gonna tell you...

Posted February 14, 2009
Mmm...steak...especially cooked med rare.

Respond to this comment

mckinneytexas mutters...

Posted February 14, 2009
It was a filet served with wild mushrooms. I had the grouper. We split a bottle of French pinot. John gave a great chat. We finished the evening with an Irish single malt. As it happened, the next morning I had to fly to San Antonio about an hour before John was wheels-up for Seattle, so it all tied together pretty well.

Burgers, on a related note, our man needs to slow down a bit. He pushes himself too hard and needs to cut back. Seriously. I am worried about our boy.

Respond to this comment

Matthew K mumbles...

Posted February 14, 2009
Brian concealed curry? Wouldn't the pungent aroma give it away?

Oh CARRY. I see. Still, I prefer the idea of packin' Indian heat in a shoulder rig. What would Dirty Harry be hefting?

Respond to this comment

Rhino mutters...

Posted February 14, 2009
BAH... if Birmo would have made it to Atlanta I would have BURIED him under stacks and stacks of BBQ pork ribs slathered in smoky sweet sauce at Matt's Rib Shack with an armed security detachment of members of this country's armed forces. Pork ... the true food of the gods.

But no ... the rat bastard goes hailing off willy nilly to rainy, damp Hippieville.

Respond to this comment

Rhino mutters...

Posted February 14, 2009
Oh ... and another thing, steak, mmmmmmmmmmmm

Respond to this comment

Rhino has opinions thus...

Posted February 14, 2009
Matt ... Dirty Harry carries the .44 magnum.

In his own words, "I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 14, 2009
I didn't say that Texas steak I had was the best in the world, just the best I've eaten thus far. I am quite eager to make it No. 2 on my list. replacing it with, perhaps, some Beddak White Tail. Damned if I don't find myself thinking about just that.

Rhino: I am on my fucking way to Atlanta to be buried in ribs. Truth be told, pig meat is my favorite, and convincing - but admittedly circumstantial - proof that God loves us.

Respond to this comment

Matthew K mutters...

Posted February 14, 2009
So what's the curry equivalent of the .44 magnum?

Coincidentally the the .44 magnum was invented by a man called Elmer Keith - no relation though. That's as close as I'm liable to get to a legal pistol seeing as I'm British.

(Although I understand that illegal concealed carry is quite the fashion nowadays in some urban quarters)

Respond to this comment

Robert puts forth...

Posted February 14, 2009
I put $6 into my Steak Fund last night after I bought WW for $19 at Borders, where they included a discount card, which makes a handy bookmark.

Say, Birmo, today is Feb 13 and you might bend the ear of your publisher that Borders STILL is WTF about WW. Your book is on the shelf, tucked away in the sci-fi section, but it's not listed properly in their database. If you seek WW the dbase sez it's not published yet. But is IS in the dbase under Disappearance or some such.

Now, that's no way to treat a New Release that has a cool fighter jet on the cover. (I'm only to chapt. 9, so I don't know why the jet, just yet--but knowing your style, I expect all hell to break loose soon--the Caitlin hospital scene was just warmup...)

Respond to this comment

Murphy mutters...

Posted February 14, 2009
Hmm, maybe we walked him too much in the Big Apple.

It is possible we all caught some sort of bug there. Or more likely (since I am willing to take the blame) he caught something from me as I had some sort of ear/nose thing which flared up that Friday afternoon before we met at the bar. If that's the case, I feel pretty bad about that.

Hopefully it clears up.

Robert speaks the truth per Borders and Without Warning. It is listed in a screwball manner and you've really got to dig to find the book. I don't know WTF is up with that.

Go easy for the rest of the trip, Birmo.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Brian puts forth...

Posted February 14, 2009
So. . .we send one our reveed authors to a far off place and he's catching exotic diseases?

Gawd . . .he'll be in quarantine for weeks . . . .living on institutional food.

Respond to this comment

savo is gonna tell you...

Posted February 14, 2009
Dose this mean we'll have to send care packages to Brisvagas as well as Victoria and FNQ?

Respond to this comment

Tucker Dwynn asserts...

Posted February 14, 2009
Arrgg!! You are in Seattle? When Where?!?! I kept looking for Book Tour dates and times, and I never saw one for Seattle Listed! ARRGGGGG!!

Respond to this comment

Trinity would have you know...

Posted February 14, 2009
Hope you feel better. Take care. Drink plenty of juice and get as much rest as you can. Hopefully Murph didn't make you sick like he did with me, the bastard.

Take care,

Trinity

Respond to this comment

Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 14, 2009
Trinity - Murph is a sharing, caring kind of person. You're making him out to be the livig embodiment of 'Typhoid Mary'.

Wait a tick . . . .?

Respond to this comment

Murphy reckons...

Posted February 15, 2009
It's typical of Murphy family tradition to blame me for the illnesses. Trinity has picked up on that tradition. :)

I need to link her blog.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Leo euler puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2009
You had a senator helping you out? Cool! That sounds like a lot of fun, very hospitable. Hopefully it was not as hectic as the political stuff in WW.

While we're on the subject of local cuisine...I think Oklahoma is more famous for its BBQ, steakhouse stuff, etc., and more infamous for it's bull testicles (Rocky Mountain oysters). I'm thankful I've never had the latter.

Respond to this comment

Tarl is gonna tell you...

Posted February 15, 2009
S.F.Murphy writes: "It is possible we all caught some sort of bug there."

Don't think so... I sat next to you for a couple of hours, sharing that guacamole, and didn't catch anything from you. Not that I'd have been able to tell, spending several hours on subways and Amtrak the next day.

Granted, walking from Union Square to Central Park in the howling wind and cold could have been more than a tender Brisbanite should have been doing - but you have no excuse. :-)

Respond to this comment

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 15, 2009
Well, I'll take what absolution I can get, Tarl. Thanks.

Umm, it was awfully cold, walking to 52nd Street, wasn't it? But not intolerable.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Murphy mumbles...

Posted February 15, 2009
BTW, Suvudu finally put up the Birmo interview at YouTube. I've got the four parts up at my blog but you can also get them at the Suvudu.com channel on YouTube.

But they don't have The Soggy Bottoms Boys as a bonus feature at their blog. :)

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted February 15, 2009
I thought they were referred to as "Brisbanians."

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted February 15, 2009
I just watched that interview. Despite my delight in hearing the term "MacGuffin." the rest of it was gruesome. Seriously.

Respond to this comment

Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2009
PB: I thought they were referred to as “Brisbanians.”

IIRC the correct term is "Banana Bender"

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted February 15, 2009
Really?

Respond to this comment

Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2009
For real. Its a colloquialism for anyone from Queensland. They grow em bent up there apparently.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted February 15, 2009
I like it, and will remember.

Respond to this comment

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 16, 2009
Lobes - no they come off the tree straight, we have to bend them because people expect bananas to be bent for some reason. It's a bit like the way Americans expect cheese to be orange.

Paul - Brisbanite is much more commonly heard than Brisbanian, which I think is an error of the uninitiated. Brisbanite, Sydneysider, Melburnian, Canberran, are all pretty constant.

Actually -ite is quite common in Australia for smaller towns too... I think we like to think of ourselves as lost tribes of Israel or something.

Respond to this comment

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'The McKinney Ranch Hoedown.'

New York wrap up.

Posted February 11, 2009 by John Birmingham
I'm almost done here. In half an hour I'll step out for dinner, heading up to Gabriel's, a really lovely Italian place just off Columbus Circle. I ate there with Betsy my publisher the other night and was impressed enough to want to go back. That's always been my way when travelling. If I find a place I lke I will visit a few times to fix it in my memory for future reference.

Today was culture day on Planet Birmo. I walked up to Central Park for a bit a wander and some happy snaps, exiting near the New York Historical Society, which had a civil exhibition focusing on Grant and Lee. It was quite fascinating and gave me an idea for a column later this week. From there I cut back across the Park to the Met, where a I spent a couple of hours browsing the art. I particularly dug the Classical and the Medieval galleries.

The street in front of the Met was crowded with starving artists selling their wares so I picked up a hand painted piece for Anna's room. Thomas got a pencil sharpener fashioned in the shape of a cannon from the Historical Society. Jane got an Obama doll (she scored some Kate Spade shoes yesterday) and for me, an ice cube tray with Titanic and 'berg shaped cubes.

I meandered down Fifth Avenue for a while, occasionally stopping to shoot pics of any buildings that took my fancy. I'm kind of a fanboy for neoclassical architecture and this part of New York has plenty. Eventually the residential blocks gave way to the shopping district, where I'd been on Monday and where I thought I'd scored a bowl of split pea 'n ham from the Soup Nazi of Seinfeld fame. Turned out to be a franchise outlet, but the soup was still great and the staff were non frightening. For anyone passing through, this place was just across the street from the New York Public Library, where I was most impressed with the combo of Roman Grandeur and civic virtue.

We seem to be working backwards here, so I guess Sunday was all about touring around with Murph and Trinity before they flew out. I had some things I needed to do at Comicon but caught up with them for an early lunch at the Carnegie Deli. My driver had told me on arrival in NYC that I had no choice but go there for the pastrami on rye, and not being one to disobey a limo driver, I insisted that we did.

Here is the result.

Apart from the pastrami mountain I've eaten relatively modestly in New York. One curry feast with a former editor and two fine Italian meals at Gabriel's would constitute the extent of my calorific blowout. Apart from that, it was easier to just have fruit for breakfast and lunch. One of the very civilized things I have enjoyed about dining alone in the US is the unexpected friendliness of my fellow diners, especially when noshing away at the bar.

Indeed, I just got back from dinner at Gabriel's where I had a green leaf salad and beef ribs with polenta mash, which were all beautiful, but must enjoyable of all was the company of my fellow singeltons, in the first instance an African American freelance publicist for a bunch of off Broadway shows, in the second a German documentary maker who explained in great detail what she was shooting in New York, but I'm afraid it went in one ear and out the other. I do know she was off to see Placido Domingo sing at the Met, however. So good luck to her.

I started chatting with her because I was very much taken with the big bowl of gnocci and duck ragout she was eating. So much so I almost ordered it myself. But that sort of dish is very easy to score in Oz, whereas the thing with which I will credit premium American chefs is a reverence for the treatment of meat that is rare back home. Hence my choice of the beef rib tonight.

In the end though, I was here for Comicon, which was amazing simply because of the sheer mass of geekdom gathered in one place. It was almost oppressive. No, bugger that. It was oppressive. I have some great photos, both mine and Craig's,which I will publish when I can get wordpress and flickr to start talking again, but for now I'll just say that it felt at times there were more geeks and weirdos gathered together in the convetion hall than you could find in all of the antipodes.

42 Responses to ‘New York wrap up.’

Bondiboy66 ducks in to say...

Posted February 11, 2009
Crikey that's one helluva sammich! My missus loved New York - her scond favourite city she reckons. But like you JB she was wary of American servings of food - she too would have fruit etc. for brekky, buy some immense sandwich at lunch, eat half and likely have the rest for dinner!

Good thing it's now lunchtime, I'm off out for a meaty sandwich.

Respond to this comment

yankeedog swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 11, 2009
Yeah, that serving size would be about right. You and Mrs Bondiboy had the right idea, rationing out the big feeds. Best way to go. Even I do that when possible. Two meals for the price of one.

Hope you enjoyed the Apple and none of the Yank 'burgers scared you too badly.

Liking your souvenir swag there-good job going full metal tourist! It's all right though-if I ever get to Australia I'm looking for the Sydney Harbour Bridge pencil sharpener or the Opera House paperweight.

Respond to this comment

Moko is gonna tell you...

Posted February 11, 2009
Don't forget my Statue of Liberty sharpener.

Love to check it out one day. Unfortunately I feel the only I will is if I manage to swim that last 3 K's undetected to shore.

Respond to this comment

Domestic Daze asserts...

Posted February 11, 2009
Warning: Do not view that picture on a full stomach. How many is that supposed to feed? A family of four or something?

Respond to this comment

Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted February 11, 2009
Pass me a 'Quick Eaze', pronto.

Respond to this comment

NBlob reckons...

Posted February 11, 2009
nice.

I like a cubic yard of beef on bread

I assume that greeen thing was only for scale or garnish.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted February 11, 2009
Don't. Forget. To. Eat. A. Thin. Crust. New. York. Style. Cheese. Pizza. Before. You. Go.

capiche?

Respond to this comment

Murphy reckons...

Posted February 11, 2009
Umm, I notice the blueberry cheesecake which was consumed AFTER the sandwich was not mentioned. I guess that was the fruit John mentioned. :) Never fear kids, Trinity got a shot of this NYC Cheesecake Monstrosity. I'll post it in a day or so.

Serving sizes in NYC were way above the call of duty. Trinity and I ate at Maxie's (where some of the food should be served with a side dish of insulin or AED devices) on Saturday night. A couple next to us from Turkey said the portions were huge and wondered if Americans always ate like that.

We assured them that the massive serving sizes at Maxie's were out of the ordinary, even in our eating experience.

I thought we ate heavy in the Midwest and if you go to someplace like Stroud's in KC, you'll get large portions. But not on the scale we saw at Maxie's.

As for eating fruit, which is what Trinity and I normally try to do during our more mundane lives, best to buy it at the market and prep it at home. In fact, this was our original battleplan but the leg injury prevented expeditions to the markets for that purpose.

As for the sandwich, I had a ham sandwich of the same size. It would have been a hamburger but we were told, "burger take twenty-five minutes."

Sheesh, you'd think they had to put a rivet in the cow in the back alley, butcher the meat and sear it with a bic lighter before bringing it in if it was going to take that long.

Lots to eat in that town. Lots.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

JdR would have you know...

Posted February 11, 2009
Surely there's a column or several to be written about Comicon? Did you pick up some reading for the kids, or was it all about Watchmen??

Respond to this comment

Sweet Jane Says would have you know...

Posted February 11, 2009
Argh... That's not EVEN a marbled rye. Where is the saurkraut? You might as well be eating at Burger King.

J.

Respond to this comment

Murphy mumbles...

Posted February 11, 2009
The hot kraut was on Trinity's hot dog.

When John and I were wandering the aisles, gawking at the figures, the weirdoes in costume, the comic books and the nervous pent up long frustrated sexual energy of the place, I finally blurted out this.

"Lord, it is a bit much. Isn't it?"

"Yeah," Birmo said. "It is."

I felt much better after that. I thought it was just me. Go googling around for the Comicon Light Saber Fight if you want to see just how over the top this was.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Chaz reckons...

Posted February 11, 2009
Hmmm yes, I'd of thought that in NYC you'd be able to get proper salt beef on rye with gerkins, obviously not. Oh vay gevalt!

I find it funny about the size of the portions when you consider that NYC was pretty out there with nouvelle cusine. Think i'll stick to half a crucified cow down in puerto madero.

Murph/JB were any of the butchered cow places there allowing English mustard?

Respond to this comment

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted February 11, 2009
Did you guys manage to catch the excellent work of the Green Light Anti-Zombie Squad at Comic Con?

Respond to this comment

Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted February 11, 2009
Comicon will have provided plenty of material for the Geek blog no doubt.

That pastrami on rye brings back memories. Happy, beefy, memories.

Respond to this comment

Guru Bob mutters...

Posted February 11, 2009
Looking at their website it seems that the owner knew you were coming and left early... it is supposed to be a 'must see' kind of place.

http://www.carnegiedeli.com/

Respond to this comment

savo mumbles...

Posted February 11, 2009
Geez, I'm not going to survive the food when I'm there this Fall. Thank goodness I've lost so much weight. I'll be able to get a running start.

By the way JB, what's that green penis doing on your plate?

Respond to this comment

lostatlunch mutters...

Posted February 11, 2009
not bad for a work trip.. the last pic on flikr... why so small.. she look, Um, interesting, in an insane way

Respond to this comment

DrYobbo is gonna tell you...

Posted February 11, 2009
I see pastrami. I see not rye.

I see coronary heart disease and bypass surgery.

Respond to this comment

Bondiboy66 puts forth...

Posted February 11, 2009
YD, it was just the missus - I've never been to the States. I'd probably just make a total guts of myself!

Respond to this comment

Big Bad Al would have you know...

Posted February 11, 2009
Mmmmmmm..... Meaty goodness...

Respond to this comment

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 11, 2009
Dr. Y

Can you expand on that to the music of the old Creedence Clearwater Revival song?

"I see a coronary infarction.

I see a lipid count too high."

Murph, I thought the "hot kraut" was a perjorative term for last years Miss Germany, and that made me wonder what she was doing on Trinity's Hot Dog? And that led (naturally enough)to unspeakably disturbing things.

Love the museum & gallery work JB.

Pity you didn't catch the Gugenhiem gallery in NYC or Aerospace Museum in Washington DC. Ah well it's a good idea when travelling to leave something for next time.

Hmm, when's the Dubya fan fic page coming? I'm gestating an idea.

Could you ransom the remaining America by snatching up the Declaration of Independance or the Wright Bros' Kittyhawk?

Respond to this comment

sparty puts forth...

Posted February 11, 2009
all sounds great- have to say when I'm in the US for work I like erating at teh counter and peopel are always evry friendly. Comic con- better you've never been in one location that has so many epople with a Zombie survival plan.

Respond to this comment

Ellie swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 11, 2009
Damn, I want your glamorous author life. I like food and art so I think it would work out for me.

Cons are pretty awesome. I'm only a semi geek so I find it utterly fascinating to meet hardcore geeks - especially ones cosplaying as badass ninja dudes from anime.

Respond to this comment

Michael Juge asserts...

Posted February 11, 2009
Personally, I prefer to order my sandwich by the pound or foot depending on what region of the country I'm in. If you're planning to to a side trip to DC area for any reason like a book signing or something, kindly let us know.

Respond to this comment

Rhino swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 12, 2009
Missed opportunity ... you shoulda' said, to the waitress, in your thickest accent, "You call that a sandwich? Now this is a sandwich."

Ummm, of course you would have had to produce a larger sandwich. So, ummm, it wouldn't work. But, still, it would have been funny.

And speaking of geek fests ... one of the meccas has got to be DragonCon held here in Atlanta. Amazingly over the top.

Respond to this comment

Matthew K has opinions thus...

Posted February 12, 2009
Ooh yeaaah! Only needs a touch of English mustard like Chaz says.

But.... that doesn't look like rye bread to me. Still looks fine though.

Respond to this comment

Robert ducks in to say...

Posted February 12, 2009
Excuse me. EXCUSE ME!! Hate to interrupt your meals and discussion of meals, but I dropped by Borders Books out here on the West Coast last night to buy WW, and damn if Borders doesn't have any copies and their computer sez the book ain't published yet (although I can buy it on audio, apparently).

So, is the book not available in the USA? Or is Borders just not planning to move that inventory? This is a WW WTF?

Thanks for any pointers, and allowing me to interrupt your meals and discussion of meals.

Respond to this comment

Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted February 12, 2009
The book is available. For some reason Borders has it listed under some sort of pre-title like America Disappeared or some crap. I had to work to find it in their system a week or so ago during my KC recon to ensure that the book had arrived.

Best thing for it is to simply punch John Birmingham's name into the computer at Borders and then browse through until you find the book.

Further, at the Borders up North that I went to, the book was there but buried behind some paperbacks in the wrong part of the B section. Damned if I know WTF was going on but I pulled the books in line with Birmo's other AoT paperbacks so folks could find them.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

MickH is gonna tell you...

Posted February 12, 2009
Hey!

Has anyone heard from Bangar recently?

I hope he wasn't mixed up in the fires.

I hope he's ok!

Respond to this comment

Trinity ducks in to say...

Posted February 12, 2009
Hey John,

Trinity here.I wanted to sat that I read He died with a Felafel in his hand. That has to be the funniest thing I have ever read in my life.

Did that stuff really happen? Because all I can say is you really are lucky to be with us all today! :)

Oh, Murph helped me set up my own blog, I think he was tired of me looking over his shoulder when he was on his.

So come and see my new blog space. remember now it is still a work in progress.

Once more it was wonderful to meet you and Tarl and Craig. I plan on e-mailing Craig to see if he got home Ok.

Well, that's all.

With love & peace,

Trinity

P.S. John could you tell everyone that Murph really does have a flesh and blood girlfriend and not a blow up one? Thanks! :)

Respond to this comment

Chaz swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 12, 2009
'P.S. John could you tell everyone that Murph really does have a flesh and blood girlfriend and not a blow up one?' don't know who could have been spreading those rumors......

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted February 12, 2009
Trinity: "Hello Neo."

Neo: "How do you know that name?"

Trinity: "I know a lot about you."

Neo: "Who are you?"

Trinity : "My name's Trinity."

Neo: "Trinity...THE Trinity? The one who hacked the IRS D-Base?

Trinity: "That was a long time ago."

Neo: "Jesus."

Trinity : "What?"

Neo: "I just thought...you were a guy."

Trinity: "Most guys do."

In all honesty, Trinity, I thought you were a guy, too - until just now. I must admit I am somewhat relieved - not that there would be anything wrong with it. I am not one of those Bible thumping fanatics. No siree Bob. I am very open minded. But I draw the line on marriage. Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. I'm sorry, but that is just the way I feel.

Respond to this comment

damian would have you know...

Posted February 12, 2009
By god, that photo makes me hungry and I had a big lunch. Is that a whole dill pickle you got with that?

I fear any time I ever spent in NYC would be one long food tour. I can imagine worse things, but don't care to :)

Murph, sounds like your impressions of comicon are not unlike what I imagine mine would be. I see sudden realisations of "Well, sheesh".

Trinity, yes that stuff really happened, some of the folks here were there, for some of it. I didn't know Birmo back in the day but certainly saw a lot of the same stuff. Strange days, but a lot of good came of it IMHO

Respond to this comment

Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted February 12, 2009
Chaz, the rumors were spread elsewhere usually, not by the burgers. But is an ongoing joke of sorts.

Damian, yes, Comicon was one big, "These folks need a life."

It was a pretty good trip. More pics to follow at both blogs.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted February 13, 2009
Well Robert, there should be copies around. Some of them signed.

Respond to this comment

Matthew K puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2009
Esquire reckons Felafel is the 33rd funniest book in it's latest edition here in the UK. I was just browsing the magazines in the supermarket - didn't buy it.

Respond to this comment

Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted February 13, 2009
Yoh? Murph - Trinity's blog needs to on referenced here doncha think?

Respond to this comment

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 13, 2009
brian, agreed. Will do when I feel better. Caught gastritis here in KC. Down but not out.

Respects,

Murph

Respond to this comment

NBlob puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2009
Murph, I don't know if it's a trade name or if it's marketed under the same name in the US of A, but I strongly recomend Immodium. It's like quick set concrete for the guts.

You'll still feel like a luke-warm bag 'o crap, but at least you dont have to make the dash to the porcelain every 3.5 minutes.

Respond to this comment

deadcat mumbles...

Posted February 13, 2009
JB, I could find your email address. You might like this:

http://blog.wired.com/cars/2009/02/sweden-build-wo.html

Stealth Ships! Just like in your trilogy :)

Respond to this comment

Murphy would have you know...

Posted February 13, 2009
NBob, yeah, I'll take some tomorrow.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted February 13, 2009
Wow, that would make a great cover line. 33rd Funniest Book Ever - Esquire.

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'New York wrap up.'

New York AAR

Posted February 11, 2009 by John Birmingham
Well, actually, there's still some action to go. I'm just about to walk up to Gabriel's, a really lovely Italian place just off Columbus Circle, but I'll fly out tomorrow morning so that'll be about it, unless, like the PM, I inexplicably find myself in a girly bar, with at least two beers under my belt, and dignity thrown to the wind.

Probably not, though.

I got some cultre in this morning, walking up through Central Park to the New York Hisotrical Society, which was hosting a Grant/Lee Civil War exhibit, which gave me an idea for a column lter this week. Popped upstairs to the Henry Luce collection of atistic thingummies, which gave me an idea for After America.

The Luce floor had an FDR exhibit too, which was a bonus, and some of the most striking folk art I've seen anywhere. Back across the Park to the Met, which was awesome, natrually, being the Met. I very much enjoyed the Classical Galleries and the Medieval collection. Bought a painting from an impoverished artists outside for my daughter's bedroom, and had a walk along 5th Avenue.

I'd been there on Monday, when I had a bowl of soup at what I though the famous Soup Nazi joint from Seinfeld, but which turned out to be a franchise. Still, the soup was excellent and I didn't get abused, which was even better. It was just across from the Library where I had a poke around and was very impressed by the Roman grandeur of the architecture yoked to the very enlightened civic ideal of an educated citizenry.

We seem to be working back in time here, so Sunday was notable for lunching with Murh and Trinity at the Carnegie Deli, where, I had been told by my driver on arriving in New York,

Be the first to respond to ‘New York AAR’

Respond to 'New York AAR'

All Hail Tarl, the King of New York.

Posted February 8, 2009 by John Birmingham
Had a day of meetings and interviews and a coupla signings on Friday. Lunched with my agent and caught up with Murph and Trinity later in the afternoon.

A cab ride to Union Square then linked us with Craig and Tarl for dinner at a pretty fab Mexican place where Tarl insisted on shouting the feed.

Props to the big guy.

Did quite a bit of walking to get bacl to the hotel, and quite a bit more this morning after a salmon bagel for breaky. We checked out some sites in lower Manhattan that I want to use in the next book, and a good thing we did because I had the scale all wrong.

Comicon was a geek fest of epic proportions. Just having a rest in my room right now, but will head back in twenty minutes for my last sesh.

83 Responses to ‘All Hail Tarl, the King of New York.’

Abe mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2009
I got the best sense of the scale of Manhattan from landing in a plane at Newark that had its final approach along the Hudson...so you get a sense of the size of Manhattan and how built up it is as you fly in. Fracking enormous.

Respond to this comment

Matthew K reckons...

Posted February 8, 2009
I get my sense of the scale of it from GTA 4.

Respond to this comment

Moko puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2009
Google Earth for me.

Had a NY pizza yet?.

Respond to this comment

MickH has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2009
Yeah Moko Google earth is brilliant.

Respond to this comment

drej puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2009
The Empire State building is still worth checking out for the view.

Great city for just walking around, every street has something new. Glad you're having a good time.

Respond to this comment

Madoc ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2009
Drej & all,

Yeah, definitely take in the Empire State. Sure, it's touristy but it is unique and iconic at that.

Good on you Tarl for the shouting.

Respond to this comment

Flinthart mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2009
You made it to Comicon! Cool!

Respond to this comment

Sweet Jane Says is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2009
You ate Mexican? In New York City...? A food loaded with cheese... You eat Mexican when you get to Texas - not NYC. Even Egyptian food in NYC is better than Mexican.

Jesus...

J.

Respond to this comment

Abe mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2009
Did Jesus eat cheese?

Maybe it was liquid cheese and he turned it into wine.

Respond to this comment

G mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2009
I can't believe i'm going to do this but I agree with Jane * shudders * Mexican in AZ or TX or Cali Not NYC.

Respond to this comment

BrianC has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2009
Hmmmmm cheese wine

Respond to this comment

Brian mutters...

Posted February 8, 2009
Ahh . . .but in New York you get kosher cheese. Probably one of the few places in the world where you can get authentic kosher mexican burrito's.

Jeez. . .J just how provincial are you anyway?

Respond to this comment

jennicki is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2009
Kosher Mexican...hahaha.

Respond to this comment

puma has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2009
Too bad you didn't know anyone to help you plan. More great restaurants in NYC than you can count.

Respond to this comment

Nocturnalist puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2009
I trust we're going to get some blogging about the Comic-con? I'd love to go to one of those.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted February 8, 2009
No cheese.

Respond to this comment

Tarl ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2009
It was actually pretty good Mexican (speaking as someone who grew up in Mexico).

The well-fed crew: Tarl (from NH), Murph & Cindy (from Missouri), Craig (from Scotland), and the GoH, Birmo.

http://tarl.net/DSC_0403s.JPG

Respond to this comment

Sweet Jane Says has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2009
Heads up - Houston has great Vietnamese food and fantastic Jamaican food due to large populations of both groups. You'll also find good Greek and Indian food in Houston - if they have survived the economy of the last year.

J.

Respond to this comment

Brian has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2009
jennicki.

If I have one article of faith - its that sooner or later someone will make a kosher version of almost anything. It may not be Mexican traditional but the taste is indistinguishable. Shoot - kosher lasagne is right tasty.

Respond to this comment

NBlob would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2009
An excellant Food Safari on SBS last week about Kosher tucker. Expanded my brain in a culinary way.

Still amazed at the surface similarities between Halal & Kosher. Shouldn't be - neighbours & all, but you'd think...

Well, no, I guess not.

I reckon if I'm being bought dinner It'd be rude of me to say "Greek, in Brisbane? You must be high - I only ever eat Greek in Melbourne where it is soooo much more authentic."

SJS, keep your ear out for the doorbell. It'll be UPS delivering you a clue.

Respond to this comment

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2009
Sorry I meant to add to the end of first sentance, the show spoke of a thin sliced smoked beef topside referred to a Fake-on or Makon - basically a Kosher Bacon like product. Just like Brian was sugesting.

Hey Jane, was that the door?

heh heh heh

Respond to this comment

BrianC is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2009
Birmo said

" No cheese. "

Thats cheesist, im going to write a letter to my minister

Respond to this comment

Brian mutters...

Posted February 8, 2009
Ehh . . .Bob. That Food Safari show was terrific. Did you catch the Syrian one? All those cakes and slices? Like to have a crack at that raw meat sushi type thingie.

Kosher. Its good tucker. All those cake shops in Ackland Street are kosher. Some of the best cakes around.

As to the door? Maybe 'Knock, knock' etc

Respond to this comment

savo mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2009
... photos ... ???

Respond to this comment

CraigWA would have you know...

Posted February 9, 2009
I have some photos, I'll see what I can do about getting them up online somewhere shortly.

Respond to this comment

mckinneytexas swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2009
I gotta go with SJS on the Mexican food in NYC. Houston has whatever you want.

Respond to this comment

Rhino mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2009
I'm so pissed that I could not make it there ... was very much looking forward to meeting Birmo and Murph and thus completing the "circle of trust" on the material plane.

I can't wait to hear Birmo's take on all of the American fanboys at ComicCon and, of course, Murph's AAR.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2009
Good Mexican food in NY is a sign of the pending Apocalypse. Get the hell out of the continental United States (and much of Canada and Mexico) while you can!

But take Moko's cue and grab a NY style thin crust pizza on your way out.

Respond to this comment

Sweet Jane Says mutters...

Posted February 9, 2009
When in Seattle eat the sea food and fresh water fish. You'll also get very good sushi in Seattle. Be sure to eat the wild trout or wild salmon; don't get "farm raised," and drink wine from the Washington or Oregon vinyards.

If you haven't been to the Holocaust Museum, Houston has an excellent one. Govenor Johnson was instrumental in giving refuge to many Jews during WWII. Houston has a large Jewish community that has endowed the city with excellent museums of every manner.

Austen, Texas produces great micro-brewery beers. Drink those while in Houston, but drink Canadian or Japanese beer while in Seattle.

J.

Respond to this comment

Matthew K asserts...

Posted February 9, 2009
Hope all Australian burgers are unaffected by the fires. Take care you guys.

Respond to this comment

Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted February 9, 2009
Its pretty bad here Vaga. Over 100 dead so far and nearly 1000 homes destroyed. Many people died in their cars trying to escape. They attempted to drive through the thick smoke and invariably crashed into the side of the road or each other. Its a bit cooler now but saturday was intense. 47 degree temperatures and winds of up to 100kmh.

You know what it feels like when you get a hairdryer and point it directly in your face? Well going outside on Saturday it was like there was a giant hairdryer pointed at your whole body.

I was supposed to visit my cousin in Gisborne over the weekend. But I've never been to her property before and didnt really fancy driving around country roads looking for it. Shes ok, but the fires affected some of her neighbours so she had to keep about 8 horses from round the district safe in her stables

Respond to this comment

Brian would have you know...

Posted February 9, 2009
Matt - thanks for the sentiment. The fires were about 10 minutes to the North of me. I've got friends who have evacuated out. Got a property that I'm expecting to see burn in Noojee.

Its very tense around here. My family and myself are waiting on news about family friends in Castella, Kinglake and down in Bunyip State forest. Ex- workmates in Churchill - dunno. Family in Bendigo are good.

Farmers going around shooting animals. Bodies being left in burnt out car wrecks - waiting for forensics teams. This is unparalleled. Being called the 'worst natural disaster since white settlement'.

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2009
We here in California deal with seasonal wild fires (the Native American name for Los Angeles translates to "Valley of Smoke) but your fatalities far exceed anything we've seen in a long while if ever. My prayers and best wishes go out to anyone impacted.

Respond to this comment

Trowzers has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2009
The bit the scares me - the firies, and ex-firies I spoke to a few days before this started knew this was coming. Several told me this would be 'far worse than Ash Wednesday'. "Well," I said (not quite believing them) "At least we have warning and can get prepared". No, I was told, you cannot really prepare for something like this. There is no telling where it will pop up, only that it will happen somewhere, and unless you put a fire crew on every acre, it is pretty much unstoppable. That this still happened when (afaik) many were as prepared as they could be, scares me silly.

My best wishes to those down south and those up north experiencing flooding. The lovely weather here in Brisbane makes me feel terribly guilty.

Respond to this comment

Brian ducks in to say...

Posted February 9, 2009
I've just had one of the big Sikorsky water bombers fly overhead. That's worrying. We're not on the flight path for any of the local airports. Wind's picked up. I live in the foothills of the Dandenongs. The third biggest recorded fire AKAIK was up here about 35 years ago. High fuel loading. National forest and interspersed homes. Suburbia. For old timers - its like waiting for the next shoe to drop. You watch the weather - and look at the ridge lines. What worries me is that people aren't worried enough. Most of the local CFA units went North days ago.

Respond to this comment

Lobes mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2009
More information on the fires here: http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/

Details on road closures here: http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/NewsRoom/BushFiresRoadClosures/

Firemaps here: http://google-au.blogspot.com/2009/02/mapping-victorian-fires.html

and here: http://maps.google.com.au/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=109226935524884968309.00046252015ee6beb4fca&hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=-35.657296,146.184082&spn=8.529985,19.775391&z=6

Respond to this comment

Matthew K is gonna tell you...

Posted February 9, 2009
It's the lead story on the TV news here but weirdly the paper doesn't mention it. It's the people in their cars that affect me most, I don't know why.

I recognize the conditions from Spain, but the hottest I ever experienced was 45c. They have brush fires and gumtrees too, but mostly it's pretty treeless. Amongst other things they use dive-bombers which hit the fires with a red powder that stains the earth, rocks and plants.

The snow is slowly dripping outside so it seems odd to recall Spain now.

Stay safe.

Respond to this comment

Brian reckons...

Posted February 9, 2009
Matt - cars ditto. There was one pic with cars nose to nose either side of a downed tree ie both lanes blocked - like a rail way boom gate.

Respond to this comment

Matthew K has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2009
It sucks to know that when I wake up in the morning the death toll will have risen. Good night, hope I'm wrong.

Respond to this comment

yankeedog reckons...

Posted February 9, 2009
Good luck to all of you affected by the fires. There doesn't seem to be enough of you to fight all of these blazes. Everyone stay safe!

It's hard enough in California when this happens, which has twice the population and resources of all of Australia with a lot less area.

Respond to this comment

sibeen mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2009
yankeedog, in a case like this you could have ten times the resources and it just wouldn't make any difference.

I live in inner Melbourne, the temperature hit 47.3 in Essendon. We were never in any danger, but when I looked at the sky in the late afternoon it was one of the ugliest sights I'd ever seen. The whole of the horizon was just a pallour of smoke and everyone who lives in Melbourne just knew that shit was going down.

It appears the death toll is now 116, unfortunately it'll probably go a fair bit higher.

Respond to this comment

Sweet Jane Says would have you know...

Posted February 9, 2009
Get your Austin beer extra cold.

J.

Respond to this comment

MickH mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2009
YD the CFA is actually very well equipped but as Sibeen says, the conditions made the whole state volatile, you just can't fight that.

Respond to this comment

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2009
OK, a little freaked out now.

A mate of mine flies choppers, he's currently down south helping / waterbombing you Victorian FERALS.

I got a grabled message last night on the mobile - "nargh bargle shh shshh but I'm OK bzztshckle" What the?

The news got through this morning chinese whispers style.

He clipped a power line!

He managed to put her down in more or less one piece and is not injured.

He's always told me any landing you walk away from is a good landing.

Looks like he's just used another of his lives. But I reckon that stain in the back of the flight suit will take some scrubbing.

Respond to this comment

Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted February 9, 2009
Murphy Actual here. Brief AAR.

The Mexican place wasn't bad, honest. They had Dos Equis Lager (yes, I know, folks think it is mule piss but I like it).

Rhino, we had a whiskey tasting sesh down in the hotel bar. Should have been there. The Circle would have been complete.

Here is a list of additional places we dined at.

Maxi's (Murph and Trinity, though Birmo and Craig went on an earlier sortie)

Emily's Stardust, where they sing to you, Saturday breakfast.

Junior's off of West 45th, Sunday breakast.

Carnegie Deli which was off Columbus Circle, Sunday Lunchdinner Heart Attack in Progress.

Trinity had the obligatory street dog and said it was the best she ever had. I had the pretzel as a substitute instead.

Comicon was defnitely an Ubergeek Out Deployment of the First Order. Craig got more photos than me since he had the superior camera.

It was really quite an experience. The only downsides are, well, I caught a cold, my left ear feels like it is stuffed with sludge and we have other travel scars.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted February 9, 2009
Thanks Murph. That makes a nice distraction with what some of us are putting up with. Did you get Birmo a T-shirt?

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2009
Murph - I wish I could have been there.

Respond to this comment

DrYobbo puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2009
The whole thing is unutterably horrific. The disturbing nature of the car images in particular (if you can actually externalise it and try and come up with logic) is probably a couple of things. One thing is the apocalyptic notion of the whole thing - people dead in their cars fleeing from hell and not making it out, it's a staple of every second huge-scale disaster movie or book (the Wave was a bit too quick for anyone to get in their cars I guess) and seeing it in real life is as surreal as it is horrific. Another thing is that we're culturally attuned to thinking our cars are a little bubble which insulates us from the real world - and specific to the case of bushfires, as Aussies we're told from childhood that if we're in a bushfire the safest place to be is to stay in our cars, get down low in the back and ride it out. In this case there was no place to hide and nowhere to run, which is truly scary as hell. The numbers are just insane and getting more so - they're projecting in the two hundreds now. It almost takes individual tragedies to give it perspective - Melbourne's old newsreader Brian Naylor dying with his wife, or the many horrendous personal accounts starting to come out of the blackness.

Respond to this comment

Brian mutters...

Posted February 9, 2009
Even more surreal than you think. One story of a woman making contact with her step father-in-law in Baghdad during the fire.(had to be satellite phone)Couldn't get a line out. Woman gets evacuated out. Next - step father-in-law organising a chopper from Melbourne to go looking for the womans husband. Which it finds.

Unless the ABC is allowing complete BS to go to air on the radio - that was the weirdest story I ever heard. The only creedence I can give to the story was that they were interviewing the woman live. John Faine on 3LO.

Respond to this comment

savo has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2009
Bugger they are expecting the death toll to rise to 230. Probably end up being Australia's biggest murder investigation.

Respond to this comment

Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2009
Savo - probable. At the 108 count - they were saying 100 people were still missing. What weirds me out further is no mention is being made of tourists. Marysville was a well known touristy spot. That area is popular for bushwalkers, campers, anglers etc etc

On a macabre note. This gives Birmo a lot of material for his sequel. What a country looks like with unrestrained wildfires.

Respond to this comment

Matthew K mutters...

Posted February 9, 2009
Cannot believe the Times has relegated this to page 6, this is front page news. Is is because Murdoch has a US passport now?

Germaine Greer makes the point that fire is part of the natural cycle of things. Been said before and all but bears repeating.

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK mutters...

Posted February 9, 2009
Massive Military response from the Rudbot for the fire ravaged areas.

2 x APCs ( M113's) Comm's carriers and about half a dozen dozers and 150 troops.....HUGE!...Yeah!...Fucking hell!, I'll try and not GO OFFFFF!

Respond to this comment

Murphy mutters...

Posted February 9, 2009
Brian, speaking of t-shirts, I found a shirt that would fit Birmo perfectly. Unfortunately, that same shirt would probably have caused him trouble at customs.

Paul, Birmo tells me he had a great time with you. Same per Madoc. Tarl was first class in covering the bill, which almost became an arm wrestling match between him and Birmo. CraigWA was there not only for the Mexican feed but also for the expedition to Comicon. In fact, he spent more time down there than I did and I believe he probably got better pics.

That fire sounds horrible. I've not had a chance to catch up. A 0800 hour class does that to you.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

sparty has opinions thus...

Posted February 10, 2009
The brush fires are terrible- I suddenly feel very cocooned in the UK. Wondering will this be an Oz Katrina in terms of Govt management or is something that "just happens"?

Respond to this comment

Brian puts forth...

Posted February 10, 2009
sparty - there's a hysterical witch hunt going on for fire bugs. Some of the killer fires are notionally 'natural'.

There was a doctrinal shift in fire fighting some years back - protect property, don't try and put them out. These fires were up and through communities before warnings got out. I don't believe these were organisational failures. The fire storm moved faster than communications. Then the intensity and spread of reports swamped available resources. The fires moved faster than resources could be moved to handle them. I suspect the concensus will be no amount of resourcing could have handled it.

Respond to this comment

Abe mutters...

Posted February 10, 2009
More of the latter I think Sparty, although the lack of warning has raised a few questions. Plus many were deliberately lit, so clearly if they are caught there will be recriminations.

From what I've heard, on Sat (one of the hottest days on history and windy to boot) the fires were travelling in thin "fingers" that were unpredictable. But when the wind shifted 90 degrees, these fingers became fire fronts that moved at incredible speed.

The mix was highly unpredictable, which is why so many people were killed trying to get out of dodge.

Respond to this comment

Lobes puts forth...

Posted February 10, 2009
Abe is right on most things. Nobody really knew what the wind was going to do when the cool change came through at 6pm on saturday. All of a sudden these narrow fires became massive as their edges became their fronts.

Calling this an Aussie Katrina is a bit overdone though. For a start most of the people affected by the fire were white. Secondly, Australia is still more or less a meritocracy. There will be no "heckuva job Browny" types who have been parachuted into the upper echelons of the CFA, SES or DSE to mess things up.

However there was no lack of warning. The conditions on Saturday had been predicted since midweek and were front page news for at least thursday and Friday.But Trowzers is right. When conditions are like they were it does not matter how prepared you are. The fire apparently moved at unprecedented speed that was approaching 100 mph. Some of the flames were as high as a 10 story building and the smoke turned a summer day into an eerie orange twilight.

Respond to this comment

Abe puts forth...

Posted February 10, 2009
Yeah, I was referring to the more specific kind of warnings I've seen (received) in the past, rather than the very general DFAT-travel-warning style that aren't terribly useful for planning.

Respond to this comment

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 10, 2009
I saw on the Teev the APC's trundling in & wondered what they could contribute? Are they fire proof?

Not criticising just wondering.

I worked a conference of EMQ (Emergency Management Queensland) about 12 months after the Canberra fire. The keynote speaker was one of the high ranking fire Johnnies from Canberra - basically sharing some of the lesons learnt there. I was gobsmacked to hear that suburbia has the same fuel load (KG of burnable / square meter) as open eucalypt forest, but the real "Faark me" moment was when the dude spoke of fighting the fire front in suburbia - access is better than in a forest, but when you run out of fire trucks & crews, access aint gonna help.

Hypothetically.

If we were to have a national resource base how would you prioritise locations?

How could you get them on site in time? As said above a 60 mile per hour fire front that can turn on a dime & head in a new direction makes it hard.

Victoria has had at least half a dozen fire fighting aircraft on standby for two months (my mate has been there sitting & waiting) how much more is reasonable?

Again as said above they could have had 50 and houses / lives would still have been lost.

An incredible tragedy and if I was the firestarter I'd be digging myself a very deep hole about now.

Respond to this comment

Havock mumbles...

Posted February 10, 2009
NBOB, its interesting , you mention Fuel load in suburbia because it’s a major source of concern. If you look at the shift we have seen in the last 20 odd years away from the typical ¼ acre blocks to the now, 500 odd square meter block , we have dense packed metropolitan houses. In a lot of cases, there is mere INCHES between each house. A worst case is a fire in storm like conditions getting into one of these new growth suburbs. BAD. Very BAD.

Abe, the APC’s are communications APC’s, but in terms of fire survival, so long as you move through the front rapidly they would be OK. Limited amount of Oxygen etc in them , but safer than a fire truck in extreme conditions.

As for some one to blame. Nobody really.

You could say we should have done more burning off over the last 5 years, given the drying conditions, but you need the right conditions to do that. We perhaps could have had better coms, who knows.

Building and fire equipment regulations could have been better maybe as well.

But it is a FACT. If you live in the bush and its heavily timbered and beautiful you have a very good chance of facing a Bush Fire. Throw in EXTREME conditions like we just had and you will quite possibly get a lot of unfortunate deaths.

So long as we learn, we modify what we do and that may be as simple as tinkering with each area a bit more. Maybe for high risk areas we look at the following as mandatory. This is off the top of the head to BTW.

1 Houses built to have fire retardant paint only.

2 All roofs to be Iron

3 Fire suppression systems to be on all roofs

4 Bushfire shelter on all outlying Properties

5 Petrol / Diesel pumps on outlying properties.

6 Clear zone / Fire break around outlying properties

7 Occupants to do yearly fire training unless in the CFA or similar service.

8 Water storage tanks to be buried or shielded

9 Timber cladding???????

Just some thoughts. Keep ya fingers crossed for Healesville and likes, the warning has Just gone out.

Respond to this comment

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 10, 2009
Anyone know if they have installed the survival tanks on all CFA trucks yet?

A couple of big fires ago we lost a couple of crews when the trucks were overwealmed.

I remember the responsible minister getting a royal reaming because more than half the CFA trucks did not have a refuge, and him promising they would all have them by X.

I wonder if it happened?

Respond to this comment

JKBrooks85 ducks in to say...

Posted February 10, 2009
Hope everyone's doing well -- those fires don't look good at all. It reminds me of the 2004 fire season here in Alaska; we had 6.6 million acres burn, and it was surreal late in the season when it started to get dark and you could see the aurora shimmering through the smoke at times. Judging from that experience, you all might be dealing with the repercussions of these fires well after they're over.

Respond to this comment

MickH mumbles...

Posted February 10, 2009
Off topic here but I found this interesting blog discussion on our Birmo:

http://larvatusprodeo.net/2009/02/08/how-to-spot-bad-science-fiction-or-fantasy/#comments

Some of you may care to comment? :-)

Respond to this comment

Matthew K would have you know...

Posted February 10, 2009
BBC were just going on about firebugs too but... well, I just can't imagine that there would be that many people who are that mad or bad, not when the consequences are so obvious. Life tends to be screw ups rather than conspiracies.

The stuff about fuel load is very illuminating, I see why "my" province of Spain (Almeria) doesn't have too much to worry about - relatively few trees.

Respond to this comment

Brian puts forth...

Posted February 10, 2009
Bob - AFAIK these trucks have misting systems. But when you're out of water, you're stuffed. We haven't lost any crews so far.

Havock - one talk back caller who lost her parents. The fire pumps were still operating when the disaster crews got to the property. A lot of the dead were 'fire wise'. Quite a few of the homes were metal clad roofed.

We're starting to hit the limits of what adequate fire protection means for above ground structures.

After Ash Wednesday - I thought the best idea was for underground 'storm shelters'. OMG - Brumby is talking about bunkers on the ABC as I type this.

Respond to this comment

Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted February 10, 2009
They use bunkers for tornado protection in the USA. IMHO it could work in a bushfire if certain modifications were made. Havock has an interesting post up about it.

Respond to this comment

Sweet Jane Says puts forth...

Posted February 10, 2009
The US often sends firefighters, aid, and gear when Australia is burning, but we're too cash strapped to do anything but watch the news. Assistance that would have helped you is being wasted in Iraq.

J.

Respond to this comment

Brian puts forth...

Posted February 10, 2009
SJS . . . US crews would have been too late. New Zealand crews - too late. Some one deal with this nitwit.

Respond to this comment

Sweet Jane Says is gonna tell you...

Posted February 10, 2009
And all of the fires have been extinguished...? All of the bodies have been found...? The rebuilding has been completed...? It's good to know the crisis is finished.

J.

Respond to this comment

Matthew K asserts...

Posted February 10, 2009
Hope it's over. Without getting superstitious, best not tempt fate.

Respond to this comment

Orin is gonna tell you...

Posted February 10, 2009
Given that fires are still burning out of control around places like Yakandandah and throughout Gippsland, I don't think any firefighting assistance will be too late.

Respond to this comment

tygertim puts forth...

Posted February 10, 2009
My sympathies for all of the affected, my prayers are for you. The rest of you keep safe. Plan the escape route NOW, and have your Go-TO-HELL-PLAN bags ready by the door!

I was there for the Oakland Hills fire in October of '91, just before Mom moved up to Yolo County... 25 people died, and some 3,000 houses were burnt. It was just the other side of the hill from us, and if the wind hadn't changed well, I was planning on Grabbing Mom and throwing her into the car and just going at one point. The fire was moving too fast for my liking. Thank God it didn't come to that. (Mom was in her 70's then, and in poor health).

A study was done on the fire, and amazingly, some homes (new construction) in the very midst of the fire zone came through unscathed. I remember reading that such things as fireproof roofing, double planed windows or windows with shutters, Stucco or other fireproof material used on the homes' exterior, A space cleared of brush 300 ft around the home all played important roles... one of the homes had built in roof misters (clearly the architect had put some thought into the building site conditions) good on the homeowner!

Take care and Keep Safe!

Respond to this comment

Brian mutters...

Posted February 10, 2009
Orin - what has to happen is to relieve the guys on the fire line. To rotate them out. That's what normally happens. Crews have moved down from NSW and Canberra - but they have to leave resources to cover their own areas. The crews coming in from Tas and NZ will be used as relievers.

But there is no hope in putting these fires out unless the weather turns. The fires are going into mountain country inaccessible to vehicles.

Respond to this comment

Monster Yuppy mutters...

Posted February 10, 2009
SJS - We were going to call you guys...but you know.. it was short notice and our country is just a tad over 15 hours flying time from LAX...

We do have a few people in this country that can fight a fire.. what we need is for the conditions to change, weather change alone will help more than anything.. throwing people at this disaster will only have a minimal effect... Most of the country burning is inaccessible to most vehicles..

Sooo.. unless you guys can lend us, say, 100+ versions of Elvis tomorrow....(Erickson S-64 Air-Crane Helitanker) then we are in trouble...

Feel free to donate some of them sweet US dollars to the relief efforts though.. they will go a long way right now.

Cheers

The Monster

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted February 10, 2009
MickH ..I did, and at that spastic who also referenced the other blog. Talk about ..well, I waded through the tripe and perhaps have some idea why Murph went kinda funny. It took me ONE POST, not5-10 years or whatever.

Respond to this comment

savo swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 10, 2009
"natural cycle of things" my arse, the old harridan got it wrong again.

brian unfortunately fire fighters, senior ones, tend to look on the brighter side of life and blame lightening strikes and electrical faults, lightening strikes when there are no clouds in the sky and there are simply not that many bad electricians. Strike Force Tronto in NSW put paid to most of those fantasies with proper fire investigations, not just some uninformed uniformed probationary constable writing off, and a goodly number of arrests for arson.

Lobes how long would the air hold out, specifically in these extreme cases? Plenty for the usual fire line but these seemed way way thicker than usual.

Orin: Get the firefighters from the north Queensland floods down and the SES from Victoria up to North Queensland, fair swap.

Respond to this comment

Lobes mutters...

Posted February 10, 2009
Savo I have no idea how long the air would hold out nor how long you would need it to hold out.

These fire fronts seem to move very fast so I guess anywhere that can protect you from radiant heat for up to 15 minutes is what you need. I imagine a reasonably sized room that was properly sealed off could contain enough air to keep a family alive for 15 minutes?

Respond to this comment

Lobes asserts...

Posted February 10, 2009
The virtual community is coming unhinged. I've already been asked to join several Facebook vigilante groups to hunt down the arsonists. Not sure who they think they;re kidding.

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted February 10, 2009
lobes ..lol. Just WTF do they think they shall do.

Um, about 5-10 minutes for the fire front to pass.

Respond to this comment

Brian mumbles...

Posted February 10, 2009
Savo - a number of fires are due to electrical faults. See Ash Wednesday fires and the SECV compensation payouts. The Kinglake fire is being traced back to a sawmill. Humans are behind most fires. Shoot - we've seen people flick cigarette butts out of cars on Total Fire Ban days. Stupidity knows no bounds.

Respond to this comment

Damaso asserts...

Posted February 11, 2009
Wish I was in NYC to buy you a beer! If you have time (I'm sure you don't) go to Peter Luger's in Brooklyn for lunch. Best steak in town!

I noticed that WW is now available for the Kindle ;) ! I also noticed the price $14.30. If it was an NY Times best seller it would be $9.99, so what gives? I'm just wondering how the publisher came to that number. I do look forward to reading it though...

Respond to this comment

Guru Bob reckons...

Posted February 11, 2009
MickH - had to laugh at those posts wheer Havock went off at them.

Re: Fires - apparently there are lots of doubts about real effectiveness of helicopters in these situations - maybe they just look good on the news? On Saturday only one fireplan would have worked - bug out early!!

Perfect storm for bushfires...

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'All Hail Tarl, the King of New York.'

Transit Day.

Posted February 6, 2009 by John Birmingham
Spent most of yesterday traveling after a rushed start before sun up. Got to the airport too late to do my upgrade trick so got to have the economy class experience on American Airlines. A pity I didn't swap the United and AA upgrade/econ thing around because AA's business class looked fine, whereas United, as someone pointed out, looked like a Greyhound bus.

Anyway, I sat next to Marcie, soon to be retired New York realtor, who was very pleasant in that chatty American way, and I watched another five episodes of 24 (series one) on the 'pod.

Didn't eat or drink on the plane, so got into NYC very hungry, having had only an apple and banana at SD airport. Random had sent a limo to pick me up, which was much appreciated as it was way below freezing and coming on for peak hour. There was a welcoming fruit and cheese basket and a bottle of Oregon pinot waiting in my room, for which I was pathetically grateful.

CraigWA, who'd arrived an hour or so earlier, texted me and we organised to have a quick dinner. He was on London time so it was about 1Am on his body clock. Had the scarifying experience of stepping out into the night time freeze and we quickly settled on a nearby restaurant where Craig had a beer (bwaaaahahahahahahaha!) and some sort of meat loafy thing. I went for what I thought was a meat ball and salad sandwhich , but which was really an experiment in stress testing a garbage bin lid sized plate by overloading it with staggering tonnages of fries, fist sized lumps of meat, a few leaves of wilted lettuce, and a gallon of melted cheese.

I think I ate about 15% of the meal and still felt bloated.

Back to the hotel for some arsing about trying to get a net connection, filed a Geek, watched another ep of 24, then off to sleepy bo bo land.

Tomorrow I have meetings, and Murph arrives in town.

31 Responses to ‘Transit Day.’

Lobes would have you know...

Posted February 6, 2009
So if Craig is on Perth/London/New York Time and you're on Brisbane/San Fran/New York time. Then between you you've been through more time zones than the USS Hillary Clinton (zing!)

Respond to this comment

gtrof is gonna tell you...

Posted February 7, 2009
Glad you made it to NYC with no trouble Birmo. Next time your in the states you need to stop by the Second City, Chicago.

Respond to this comment

jennicki has opinions thus...

Posted February 7, 2009
Wow you're really getting the American Experience full throtte--freezing cold temps and ginormous servings. Restaurants and movie theaters should really just be honest about their serving sizes--

"Would you like a bucket of popcorn or, for $1 more, you can upgrade to a trough?"

Respond to this comment

lostatlunch reckons...

Posted February 7, 2009
everyone's your friend in new york city,

relax and go with the flow,

explain you are a tourist and ask a local to show you around.

Respond to this comment

Matthew K swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 7, 2009
Is the "cheese" that is allegedly poured over everything in America really as bad as Jeremy Clarkson says?

Respond to this comment

Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted February 7, 2009
John, a real man could have finished that meal.

Respond to this comment

Lobes puts forth...

Posted February 7, 2009
Beware of the NYC wallet inspectors

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted February 7, 2009
Yes, poured cheese. I don't think I even need to answer.

Respond to this comment

BrianC mutters...

Posted February 7, 2009
Hmmmm cold weather... its 39c here in canberra JB and believe it or not its only 30 in brisy. Enjoy the cold while you can, cause the sky is falling... well melting.

Id love a good cold snap right about now.

Respond to this comment

Abe swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 7, 2009
Eeeew cheese that you pour! No wonder the cheese platter doesn't happen in the US - it would flow off the end of the tray.

You need to find the Brazilian quarter. It's somewhere between 46th and 49th and maybe only a block or two from Broadway. So maybe 5th or 6th? Or would it be 8th/9th? Anyway ask a local.

I've said it before, but you need to try the Feijoada.

Respond to this comment

Matthew K ducks in to say...

Posted February 7, 2009
Nigh on 40c down there I hear, I can't think straight at that temp. Not a problem though as it's all over slushy snow outside.

Is that squeezy "cheese" cheese whizz? I looked at a bottle in the american deli and it didn't seem to have cheese in the list of ingredients at all! WTF?

I bought Skippy peanut butter instead. (Is it made by or from Skippy?)

Respond to this comment

sibeen has opinions thus...

Posted February 7, 2009
A lovely and invigorating 45.5 degrees in Essendon at the moment. At this temperature all cheese is of the poured variety.

Respond to this comment

Lobes would have you know...

Posted February 7, 2009
45 degrees in Melbourne and climbing. I just did a 15 km paddle from St Kilda to Sandringham. Pretty toasty out there.

Can someone pour me a glass of cheddar?

Respond to this comment

puma has opinions thus...

Posted February 7, 2009
cheese poured on things?...strange. Never seen it..or heard of it.

Respond to this comment

Sweet Jane Says is gonna tell you...

Posted February 7, 2009
Don't eat. Avoid all places that use cheese, and return to your country that prefers blocks of yeast infection. Australia isn't exactly known for its cuisine or tolerance.

J.

Respond to this comment

BrianC swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 7, 2009
SJS said

"Australia isn’t exactly known for its cuisine or tolerance."

I know im going to regret this, but what pray tell SJS is Australia known for?

Respond to this comment

sibeen asserts...

Posted February 7, 2009
"I know im going to regret this,"

Oh, no, no, no, Brian. I expect we'll all come to regret it :)

Respond to this comment

Matthew K asserts...

Posted February 7, 2009
Don't dis the vegemite yo.

45.4c in Essendon! Not in our Essendon it isn't.

Respond to this comment

Brian asserts...

Posted February 7, 2009
Reading a Melbourne thread asking what things melted. So far clothes pegs and washing baskets are up there.

Wooden front door panel cracked in my place.

Watched a few roads start to get tacky. ie transports leaving ruts in bitumen surfaces.

Queensland is starting to look like a nice temperate place to go to.

Respond to this comment

JKBrooks85 ducks in to say...

Posted February 7, 2009
Out of curiosity, are there any Alaska book-signing stops planned? Just wrapped up reading WW and loved the Begich cameo. I imagine it's too much to hope for but figured I'd ask.

Respond to this comment

CraigWA mutters...

Posted February 7, 2009
At least the Mexican place we went for dinner last night had something that resembled real beer. I presume it was from Mexico.

Respond to this comment

savo ducks in to say...

Posted February 7, 2009
Geez freezing weather NY. 14 dead poss. up to 40 in Victoria in the bush fires down there. Tragedy.

Respond to this comment

yankeedog swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 7, 2009
"Got to the airport too late to do my upgrade trick so got to have the economy class experience on American Airlines"

Well, lucky you!

You wacky Australian types-insist on traveling in your summer-which ain't summer up here! Much like you guys like to tease us Yanks with Dropbears, we like to tell you folks 'Come on up! You can handle this-it's a dry kind of cold'!

And good luck on finding 'light' fare for meals here.

Respond to this comment

Matthew K puts forth...

Posted February 7, 2009
Actually that "dry kind of cold" looks pretty appealing here where it barely gets below freezing, so sleet falls from the sky and now slush covers the land.

The dry cold is actually warmer.

Respond to this comment

Sweet Jane Says would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2009
http://www.hreoc.gov.au / about / media / speeches / sex_discrim / women_and_racism_forum.html

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Website

Dec 1, 2001 ... In addition, racism and sexism do not affect all women equally or in the same way. .... predisposes them to high unemployment and hazardous employment; .... Work out your rights. Voices of Australia - Education module ...

New York has Ethiopian, Thai, Vietnamese, Mongolian, Turkish, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, and countless other foods that do not use cheese or use very little cheese. That's the funny thing about the US. We have choice and freedom.

J.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2009
Sorry, JK, not this tour.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted February 8, 2009
Does anyone have any idea what she's talking about?

Respond to this comment

Matthew K puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2009
Uh uh. Back to irrelevant randomness.

Respond to this comment

Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2009
The freedom to not eat cheese. Apparently its the difference between Australians and Americans.

Respond to this comment

Monster Yuppy is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2009
SJS: I think the Scots may have taken the lead on the American/Anglo cheese freedom issue.

Of course, that well known American/Australian/Scotsman Mel Gibson had the right answer for cheese freedom.

"You have come to fight as cheese men, and cheese men you are. What will you do with that cheddar? Will you fight? Aye, fight and you may die, run and you'll live. At least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our camembert! "

Respond to this comment

BrianC puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2009
Ummm. Wow! Ok then i guess i did ask for... that what ever that was.

JB that link goes to human right commission australia and when you follow her drill downs it takes you to an article talking about enshrined racist-sexism in australia.

SJS australia by and large isnt a racist or sexist society, certainly not sexist, our women folk just wouldnt stand for that shit. We do have our share of blockheads. And while out rights arnt enshrined in some holy bill, they are written down in our constition and our laws.

The Australian of the Year this year was a black fella, the minister for my department is woman. Were not perfect but we are far from institutionaly racist.

Ok so i just deleted my further argurments here because it doesnt matter. You wont agree, you cant. You havent been to my Country. I have been to yours, i know where the balance of freedom lies. Besides this blog is about JB not you or me.

JB you lucky bastard. It going to be even hotter today. Im thinking of wasting $30 bucks and catching some back to back movies in the cinema.

BrianC

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Transit Day.'