Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 57

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The Martinshof Story - A Philosophy of Happiness - Life Awareness - Maps & other Text series

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Monday December 1, 2008 (diary)

Reardeck at ThreePondsIt is another beautiful sunny day as I wake up this morning to the first day of last month of a rather turbulent year.
Nushi, the recent addition to the inhabitants here at ThreePonds, is an energetic, happy and quite self assured puppy. She wanders all over the place inspecting her new environement. She had a good wash, looks very cute and walks behind anyone who is on the move, especially Tin Tin who does not like this at all and growls at her whenever she gets to close to him.

For the first three months of their lives young puppies emit a smell (not picked up by humans) which is very unpleasant to grown up male dogs. It is one of nature's protective measures to let young puppies grow strong enough until they can fend for themselves. Tin Tin is a very friendly dog and loves all female dogs, put at present he can't stand to have Nushi nearby. A few more weeks my friend and you will have an entirely different attitude, I can promise you that.

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Tuesday December 2, 2008 (diary, Joern Utzon, Sydney Opera House)

A beautiful morning again, warm and sunny, perfect to do my washing.

Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge Joern Utzon, the brilliant Danish architect who designed the Sydney Opera House died two days ago, age 90, and the papers are full of the stories connected to its construction. Utzon won the competition for its design, but only after the Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen (who was on the selection team) had rescued it from amongst the rejects, as some old fashioned NSW Government officials had initially described it as looking like "copulating turtles".

The structure's multiple shells clearly are rotated "echoes" from (and in harmony with) the curved structure of the adjacent Sydney Harbour Bridge. As a result the visual strength and character of both these iconic Sydney landmarks are greatly enhanced and in a sense binds them together.
It is a clear case where 1 plus 1 adds up to much more than 2.  (As it is never mentioned in interviews or newspaper articles, I wonder whether this obvious observation has escaped many. Judging from the officials' comments in the 1950s this was certainly the case at the time.)

Utzon's original design consisted of much flatter curving shells segments (see left below), closer in their shape to the bridge's curvature. But these were (at the time?) technically impossible to build and had to be modified. Fortunately they still managed to express the intended effect of the original design.

The original model and the reality
Construction commenced in 1956, with Utzon located in Sydney to complete the design details. Antien, Babette and I arrived in Australia on New Years Eve 1965, just in time to follow the parochial NSW State Government (especially Liberal) politics which eventually pushed Utzon out off the project in 1967, when he returned to Europe. The project ran way over budget, but was largely financed by the monthly Opera House Lottery in which literally everybody, including us, bought tickets in.

The construction was completed in 1973. Utzon was not invited to its opening, where his name was not even mentioned. The interior was certainly not as he had envisioned it, with too small rooms and rather poor acoustics as a result.Joern Utzon cartoon
The Opera Trust eventually reconciled with Utzon in 1990 and in 1999 appointed him as consultant to remedy the errors made. In 2004 the first interior space was rebuilt (The Utzon Room) matching his original design.
A major reconstruction of the Opera House was planned in 2007 which will be overseen by Utzon's son Jan.   Utzon won several prestigious design awards for his Heritage listed creation, but he never set eyes on the completed building during his entire life.

David Frith's "Double Click" column in Tuesday's regular IT section of The Australian newspaper each week invariably includes some useful computer tips. This week there are two.

  1. OpenOffice Version 3.0 is now available as a free download. It is the most serious contender to MicrosoftOffice, however unlike Microsoft's application this one is free! It runs on Windows, Mac OS, Linux and Sun Solaris.

  2. The other one is also a free download of Virtual Box for Mac. Like Bootcamp, Parallel and Fusion, it allows you to run Windows applications on a Mac, provided the Mac is Intel-based.

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Wednesday December 3, 2008 (diary)

Mooloolaba beach Finally !   After at least 2 years of not even putting a toe in the sea I have decided this has to end. I spend almost all day, every day either sitting in front of my laptop at home or reading the paper in the Surf Club with no exercise whatsoever (I had to stop my 5BX exercises too because of my injured left shoulder).
So today is the day of a new beginning. The sun is shining and, even for a thin blooded Tropics adjusted person like me, it is quite pleasantly warm. All in all no excuses left. I drive to Mooloolaba, park the car, climb into my swimming trunks then walk half a mile along the lovely walkway through the dunes to one of the Lifesavers patrolled swimming areas.

There is a nice sea breeze and the water temperature is 21-22° C according to the Lifesaver's Notice board.   As I jump into the surf it feels even warmer than that, absolutely fabulous. How could I have foregone this wonderful experience for so long : splashing around in the white foamy waves, trying to catch one for a body surf ride into shore. I do get several in fact and am mighty pleased with myself. After I get out I walk on the beach back to the main watch tower in front of the Surf Club and have an icy cold shower to get the salt off my body. Then back to my car to change. Now I can go to the Surf Club and read the paper. And have a beer as well !

fried cuttlefish balls Back home, Doug has taken Tin Tin to the vet. He has a poisonous tick and Doug can't find it. Tin Tin stays overnight there to recover.
It is Wednesday and Babette has her evening writing course session, while Doug is off with his guitar to the weekly Blues night at the Palmwoods Hotel. That leaves me to go to my favourite Thai eatery, the Thai Parnit in Nambour to have my fix of fried cuttlefish balls followed by a mains of delicious Thai noodles. Life is good.

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Thursday December 4, 2008 (diary)

My left upper arm, which I badly hurt in a fall 8 months ago, has been slowly improving, especially the last month or two. Since last April I have not consulted a doctor again for this injury and prefer to let it heal naturally, which appears to be happening. The arm is not back to normal as yet, but having mentioned those 5BX exercises yesterday I cautiously give them a try today. I manage to do the very lowest level (D-) of Chart 1 without any problem so I will add 5BX to my new exercise regime of walking and surfing.

At Mooloolaba I walk again through the coastal dune strip to the patrolled beach area which today is crowded by hundreds of High school kids, having a BBQ and swim day there.   According to the Lifesavers Notice board the sea temperature is "about 23° C" today. The waves are flatter than yesterday, hard to get a body surf, but I do manage one. With all those people in the water you also have to watch out you have a free run to the beach and don't bump head first into someone.
Fast food hub, Mooloolaba After my walk back along the beach, a cold shower, then change at my car I decide to have lunch at the Fast food hub on Brisbane Road, next to the Mooloolaba Bowls Club. It is about half a kilometer, so an extra full km of exercise walking there and back.
There is a Subway there and also a Noodle Box which I go to.They both offer discounts for Seniors, 10% at Subway and at the Noodle Bar a small noodle box for only $4.95 instead of the full price of 8 to 10 dollars.

Up until a week ago I used to lunch at the Mooloolaba Surf Club every day. They had a nice wrap with chips on the sides on their daily Specials Board which I quite enjoyed.
But last week (in preparation for the busy school holiday tourist season) they changed their menu, increasing all prices and no more wraps or the nice toasties they had. So I now lunch elsewhere, in small eateries, before going to the Surf Club and read my paper. I quite enjoy that. And for the money I save on lunch I have a beer at the Club.

ThreePonds, front veranda As I arrive back home a sudden thunderstorm plus heavy downpour of rain freshens up the day. Later, after all is quiet again and the rain has gone, it is lovely to sit on the front veranda with a beer and breath in the fresh cool air of the evening.
Doug has returned from the vet with Tin Tin, who has been fully shaved and is still quite demure and wobbly on his feet after his tick poisoning ordeal. Hopefully he will be back to normal soon.

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Friday December 5, 2008 (diary)

Oysters Kilpatrick and Natural I go through my now fixed exercise routine. There is no wind at all at the beach, the surf is very flat without any white foam caps to see anywhere, but the water is nice and crystal clear. I have some nice noodles in the Noodle Box. Later in the afternoon on my way back I buy three dozen large Pacific oysters at what used to be called Ron's Seafood in Kunda Park. It has changed hands twice this year and now will be called Ocean Pearls Seeafood.
At home I cover half of them with finelly chopped bacon and Whorcestershire sauce, then for 5-6 minutes under a 200°C grill : Oysters Kilpatric. The others I leave fresh to be sprinkled with lemon juice and fresh ground pepper, both ways are delicious.

Freda one of my bridge partners from Darwin calls me. She is staying in Brisbane with her daughter for the Andre Rieu and Billy Joel concerts. She will visit me tomorrow. I will pick her up from the nearby Eudlo train station and show her around for the day.

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