Stepping Up

November 6, 2007 – 10:35 am


I started a new job at Verizon Business yesterday. My new role is a Solutions Engineer. I think this is the third major step up in my career. The first was getting my first sysadmin job at Optus, the next was the system integration job for Digicel.

So far so good. It feels civilized here.

Camera upgrade

October 9, 2007 – 10:53 am

I bought a Canon EOS 10D way back in 2003 and have loved having it. I saw the 20D and 30D come out and they really tempted me. When the 40D came out and I read the specs, I could resist no longer. Upgrade time!

The first thing you notice is how much bigger the LCD preview screen on the back is. Huuuuge!

40D back10D back

I’m still getting familiar with the 40D. I only got it yesterday.

Reviews of the 10D and the 40D


September 29, 2007 – 5:11 pm

We decided a while ago that we really should try Tetsuya’s before he got tired of cooking and closed the restaurant. We booked earlier this year to go on our wedding anniversary (they’re booked out at least 3 months in advance). It is an expensive meal, but its not really just a meal. We were there for almost 4 hours but never felt like we were waiting for the next dish for very long. The service was perfect. The whole experience was completely decadent. I feel a bit guilty.

I took some photos but they didn’t turn out all that well as i felt a bit embarrassed to use the flash.

egg custard with crab meat. soup and chives on toprice, smoked trout, caviar, scallopsignature dishsoft chocolate, biscuit, creme, vanilla sauce

It was the best meal I’ve ever had. I don’t need to go again anytime soon though.

The Menu when we went;

Pea Soup with Bitter Chocolate Sorbet

Smoked Ocean Trout & Avruga Caviar

Leek & Crab Custard

Scallop Carpaccio with Red Wine Vinaigrette

Confit of Petuna Tasmanian Ocean Trout with Konbu, Daikon & Fennel
Seasonal Green Salad

Ravioli of Queensland Spanner Crab with Tomato & Basil Vinaigrette

Grilled Fillet of Barramundi with Braised Nameko, Enoki & Woodear Mushrooms

Twice Cooked De-Boned Spatchcock with Olive & Caper Jus

Grilled Wagyu Beef with Lime & Wasabi

Comte with Lentils

Betroot & Blood Orange Sorbet
Strawberry Shortcake

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with White Beans & Dates

Chocolate Terrine with Mascarpone & Cognac Anglaise

Coffee or Tea & Petit Four

Food in Melbourne

September 11, 2007 – 11:37 am

We decided to see how good the food is in Melbourne.

Formal restaurant, not cheap. Very good food but not the best value for money. The Tonkatsu was the highlight, they use “kurobuta” Black Berkshire pork. The best I’ve ever had. I must seek out a good Tonkatsu restaurant the next time I’m in Japan.

I had no idea how far away from the City this place was (Glen Waverley). $50 in a taxi! ack! You’re very aware that you’re in the burbs here. The chef has kept his standards high though. The sushi is good; fresh fish and freshly cooked rice. If I lived nearby I’d go back, but I don’t think I’ll make the long trip out there again. Tried a new beer, was nice.

AY Oriental Tea House
A-la-carte yum cha. Good service. Light and balanced flavors. Nice location. Reasonable selection of teas although not what you’d expect from a “tea house”

Fantastic modern Australian restaurant with Japanese and Italian influences. I was very impressed. The only let down was the vanilla ice cream which wasn’t nice at all. We’ll definitely go back next time we’re in Melbourne

New Citroen concept car

September 11, 2007 – 11:06 am

There’s a remarkable similarity I think.

Citroen C-Cactusmakibaoh

Citroen C-Cactus & Makibao

Melbourne Trip

September 11, 2007 – 12:09 am

We took a trip to Melbourne for a short break and to escape APEC. Turns out it was a good idea. Just crossing the road to go for Yum Cha was enough to get arrested.

Grand Hotel seen from inside Southern Cross StationSouthern Cross Station

Centre Pl off Flinders LnFlinders Ln

I’ve never spent much time in Melbourne until this weekend. It was a great experience. The trains are clean and on time. The equivalent to Sydney’s Central station is fantastic; a wonderful spacious wavy roofed building. The alleyways have interesting graffiti that doesn’t get painted over. Lots of great places to shop and eat. We’ll go back again for sure, soon I hope.


We stayed at Hotel Lindrum in the south-east corner of the CBD. Highly recommended.

Home Espresso

August 10, 2007 – 10:23 am


We bought an Ascasso Dream a few weeks ago. It was a bit of an impulse buy, although we’ve been pondering getting an espresso machine for some time. It’s just so sexy we couldn’t resist. I knew making espresso wouldn’t be easy, we’ve been practicing over the last few weeks and just recently starting to get good at it. Chika made a great cup this morning! Good fresh beans seem to be one of the critical factors. Our favorite at the moment is the house blend from Forsyth’s in Naremburn. Another discovery was that our cheapy grinder just wouldn’t cut it. I splurged on a Rancilio Rocky.


Simmered Fish

July 29, 2007 – 12:13 am


Chika usually cooks. She’s much better at it than me and enjoys it. She’s still recovering from the flu so today I tried making one of my favourite dishes, Japanese style simmered fish. Redfish (金目鯛) is in season at the moment and suits this dish. Its related to Snapper with a slightly lighter taste. I followed the recipe as closely as I could and Chika called out advice from the couch. It was a success! woot!

We have a bilingual cookbook that we picked up in Japan. Best cookbook I ever bought. I used a large shallow pot/pan. The normal drop lid made from foil didn’t look like it would sit on top of the fish very well, so I used a paper towel (with a few holes cut in it to let the steam out) instead. From time to time, spoon sauce over the top. Apart from that, I did exactly as shown in the book.

Here’s some extra pages from the book on the basics of simmering


Quality (authentic) Japanese food in Sydney

July 27, 2007 – 4:06 pm

I’ve been lucky enough to be introduced to seriously good eating places in Japan; Kaiseki, Sushi, Yakitori, Tonkatsu, Tempura, Izakayas etc. Restaurants in Japan tend to specialize in just one kind of food and concentrate on doing that as well as they can.

Back in Sydney, its a bit of a let down. Places I used to love now disappoint me. All is not lost. There are places to get quality Japanese food here that will give the good places in Japan a run for their money.

I think people will fall into two camps, the western palate and the asian/japanese palate. SMH’s Good Food Guide and other trendy mags rave about places like Yoshii, Toko and Wasavie. Their menus are styled to suit the customers, us westerners.

I fall into the other category. I’m not sure why. I just like the lighter, subtler style that you get in Japan. For me, there are only two places to go, Kabuki Shoroku and Toriciya. Shoroku is a traditional japanese resturant that you find all over japan. traditional dishes done in the traditional way. Its sublime, if what you care most about is the food. The service is simple but friendly and decor, average.


Toriciya is my favorite. It’s an izakaya just like the ones in Japan. Sake and yakitori are what they’re famous for. The range of sake is mind-boggling, over 2 pages on the menu. Japanese customers who think they know sake are regularly humbled. In quality, the bottom of the range starts just above the best any other place in Sydney has to offer. Pretty much all of the sake comes from small breweries that still make sake using the old techniques. Also, they hand make all their food from scratch, including the soup stock. Another highlight is the eccentric owner, Takahashi-san. He’s absolutely mad keen on sake. If you’re not into sake, he’d rather you not come. A recent renovation reduced the number of seats and aimed to make the restaurant look less inviting from the outside. On the other hand if you’re keen on being educated on sake, he’ll brighten up and chat your ear off, forgetting that there’s orders piling up in the kitchen.

Note: Tetsuya is Japanese, but his restaurant isn’t. He’s broken out of the restrictions of any one country’s food. He invents his own. Going there for the first time in September this year. Cant wait.

Yebisu - The Hop

UPDATE: I forgot about Uchi Lounge in Darlinghurst/Surry Hills. To sum it up simply, its like “modern Japanese FOR Japanese”. Every dish we tried we loved. I particularly like the Houjicha Panna Cotta. There’s talent and passion going into the food here. I’m surprised its not better known.

UPDATE 2: Went to Toriciya again tonight. There’s a new beer, Yebisu – “The Hop” which has replaced the old standard Yebisu

UPDATE Mar 2009: There’s another restaurant to add to the list, Ju-Rin.

Ruby Rename

July 26, 2007 – 1:46 pm

You can write a “better renamer” in any scripting language, but I’m learning Ruby, so I thought i’d give it a go. I started with this basic one-liner I got from a friend

alias rubyrename='ruby -e "a = ARGV.shift; b = ARGV.shift; ARGV.each{ |f| File.rename(f, f.gsub(a, b)) } "'

I wanted to add some user friendliness for when i forget what the argument syntax is, so I modified it and made it into a normal script, “rubyrename.rb”

unless ARGV.size > 2
  puts "Usage: rubyrename STRING1 STRING2 REGEXP"
  puts "       where STRING1 is to be replace with STRING2 in "
  puts "       all filenames that match REGEXP"
a = ARGV.shift
b = ARGV.shift
ARGV.each do |f|
  unless f == f.gsub(a, b)
    File.rename(f, f.gsub(a, b))
    puts "#{f} -> #{f.gsub(a, b)}"

I also added some bells and whistles


artemis:~/temp daniel$ ls
foofoofoo.01    foofoofoo.02    foofoofoo.03
artemis:~/temp daniel$ rubyrename.rb foo bar *
foofoofoo.01 -> barbarbar.01
foofoofoo.02 -> barbarbar.02
foofoofoo.03 -> barbarbar.03

artemis:~/temp daniel$ rubyrename.rb bar foobar *
barbarbar.01 -> foobarfoobarfoobar.01
barbarbar.02 -> foobarfoobarfoobar.02
barbarbar.03 -> foobarfoobarfoobar.03

artemis:~/temp daniel$ ls
foobarfoobarfoobar.01   foobarfoobarfoobar.02   foobarfoobarfoobar.03

Now all I have to do is alias a shorter command to my rubyrename script in my .profile

alias rrn=rubyrename.rb

Of course rubyrename.rb needs to be in my path, or I could have specified the full path in the alias