Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Time For a Completely Random Post

The beauty of writing a blog is that you can write about whatever you want to. Ok, so this one is supposed to be about chess and coffee, but these are just the main subjects that interest me, and the blog is, after all, about me and my world view. Now I've just finished my first week back at work after a long summer vacation (for those of you in Europe, Asia or North America who live upside down, it is summer here in Australia) and had about enough of chess. It's a shame, because there are some great chess events just finished, in progress or about to start, but today I can't bring myself to think about them, or anything else to do with chess.

I know what you're thinking. I'm currently speeding on caffeine and don't know what I'm talking about. Life without chess!! Sacrilege!! Well, you're wrong. I have had one coffee today, but in the heat of a 35C day, I tend to drink more water than anything else. And for the past week I've been feeling dehydrated from some gastro type bug that has me short of breath and tired. So no, I'm certainly not overfuelled on coffee. In fact, perhaps I haven't had enough recently. When I was in Queensland I was worried that there would be no good coffee, but I was pleasantly surprised. I was staying in Nobby's Beach on the Gold Coast and the local row of shops and cafes had some good coffee. I tried a few places, but really liked a little place called '52 espresso' which was cosy and had a pretty decent long black.

Blackboard Cafe, Varsity Lakes Queensland

I also need to give a big thankyou to Andrew FitzPatrick who pointed me in the direction of the best coffee in the University grounds (according to someone who told a friend of his who might have mentioned in passing etc). I have to say that Blackboard Coffee do a pretty good drink. Actually it reminded me somewhat of the coffee I had in Chez Dre the week before, with a fruity tang to it. All in all, I was pretty impressed, especially seeing the last time I was in Queensland I couldn't find a decent coffee anywhere! Then again, I was in Brisbane!

Anyway, enough about coffee and on to cats. If I appear to be rambling, then I have got the style just as I want. I also ought to apologise to any chess readers who are wondering when the chess content is going to appear. Take a look at the Chess tag and you'll find some chess content. I always considered myself more of a dog person than a cat person. But really, does such a thing exist? I mean why would an animal lover prefer dogs to cats? They are both great companions with admittedly different traits, but still we're talking cuddly domestic pets. Here's a funnier take on the differences:

So when my wife said to me about 4 years ago, lets get a cat, my initial reaction was "What? I prefer dogs!" Now my wife, Caroline, also loves dogs but our situation with work and life would limit the amount of time we could spend walking and caring for a dog. So it was agreed to get a cat. We got the black and white one in the picture below, called Candy. Actually, I have to admit that I almost immediately became very fond of my new little kitten. So did Caroline, and we decided to get another cat, the light tortoiseshell below called Alice. The 2 of them are great friends, with very different personalities.

My 2 cuddly companions
Anyway, yesterday we had the nightmare scenario of one of our cats not returning home. Alice, the tortoiseshell, went AWOL for about 36 hours. It's an unbelievably stressful experience, as you can't help but imagine the worst things happening to them. There's the possibility of abduction (more common with top breeds), injury, getting trapped somewhere, being frightened and running away from their own territory, as well as a number of other explanations for their disappearance. Knowing all this, and having a plan to recover your cat is really useful to know and I was indebted to this site for easing my mind somewhat about the likelihood of certain events.

And to end it this rather random set of musings, congratulations to the English Parliament for approving same sex marriages. Well done to the archaeological team for establishing the remains of Richard III (and I wish luck to the teams now trying to find the remains of Alfred the Great). I haven't run for too long, I need to start reading again, I want my holiday in the USA to start now (only 212 days to go), and I never knew that today was the day in 1819 that a certain Mr Raffles founded Singapore! Did you know that Changi Airport in Singapore has a butterfly garden? Neither did I until I went on a little exploration during my 2 hour stop there on the way back from England! Ok, now I've descended from random musings to utter gibberish, like an internet forum poster, so I'd better stop!

Butterfly Garden (courtesy of the butterfly consultancy)

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